Originally published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 10:57a.m.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Amber Labahe, a media student at Hopi High School, won first place in a writing contest at the Arizona Latino Media Association (ALMA) Conference March 1 at the Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Labahe, who is Navajo, won a Go-Pro Camera and $100 for placing first in the English division of the ALMA Conference. There was also a Spanish writing contest as well.


Hopi High media student Amber Labahe draws congratulations from ALMA President Nicole Greason after winning first place at the ALMA journalism Conference. (Stan Bindell/NHO)

Possibly more important than the prizes she won, Labahe said she learned that people should believe in themselves when in doubt of something they had a passion for, but that they thought they wouldn’t be good at attaining. 

“I never thought I would be good at journalism or videos, but after this trip I have more confidence,” she said. 

Like the other students at the ALMA conference, Labahe listened to journalist Richard Ruelas talk about how to write stories before listening to two news conferences and then writing about one of the news conferences in rooms where all the students were gathered together. 

Labahe said Ruelas talked about how to use quotes and that the lede in a story has to have an interesting hook in order to engage readers. She said she used that strategy to write her story.

The first news conference was about voting rights. The second news conference was about a play that showed the pros and cons of President Donald Trump. She said both news conferences were complicated, but she choose the second news conference because she was interested in how they talked about trying to make changes for immigrants, especially for families that get separated.

Six of Labahe’s media classmates from Hopi High were on the trip and they were impressed with her taking home first place. 

Kimmale Anderson, a video student at Hopi High, said it was cool that Labahe won out of about 50 students in the contest. 

“It’s impressive that she came from our little school and passed other people with more resources and experience than we have,” she said.

Aubrey Harvey, a print journalism student at Hopi High, said she was proud of Labahe because before it was announced that she won Labahe was saying that she wasn’t able to do her best work in the contest.

“It’s a good accomplishment for her, especially since this is her senior year,” Harvey said. 

Jacque Thorpe, a video student at Hopi High, said she was “hyped” for Labahe. 

“She works hard and I knew she was going to win,” Thorpe said. 

Cierra Brady, a print journalism student at Hopi High, said was impressed and happy that Labahe won because Hopi High doesn’t usually win at this event. 

Latifah” Huma, a print journalism student at Hopi High, said Labahe deserved to win the award because she works extra hard. 

Dalilah Tsosie, a radio student at Hopi High, said it was nice that Labahe won the award because she does a good job with her writing.

“Just by talking with her, I know she’s a good person and she’s smart,” Tsosie said. 

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