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El Paso’s Irvin High School journalism program receives top honors

EL PASO, Texas -- While the majority of El Paso was chowing down on Thanksgiving dinner, the Irvin High School Rockets journalism team was putting the Borderland on the map.

The Journalism Education Association competition judges high school news broadcasts and awards them on merit, technical skills and presentation.

Over 100 schools and 5,000 students met in Washington D.C. to show the judges what they have.

Though some of the members of the Irvin team hadn't left the state of Texas or even flown on an airplane, their talent shined through!

To get to Washington D.C. the students sold snacks, advertisements in their yearbook and even t-shirts to make up the $9,000 needed to go.

Their 2019 teacher of the year Mariel Bautista anchored the team and taught them its not always about the fancy equipment other schools have but what you do with what you have.

"I have told them its not about how much we have but its how we use the stuff that we do have" said Bautista.

They definitely took that to heart.

While in Washington, El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar met the team and showed them around the capital.

Then it was time to compete.

The students put together the majority of their program in El Paso and finished the rest in D.C.

The hardest part about it all was waiting to see how you placed.

Bautista explained to me the difficutly of hearing the numbers count down, ""They start going 10th, 9th, 8th and you know our anxiety is growing and growing and growing."

"Once it got to around 5 we were just crossing our fingers and hoping and praying for the best, and when it got to second place and then when it got to first place I think I went numb and I just stood up I jumped and I screamed and I cried," Gianna Rivera a Senior Editor said regarding the emotions of finally hearing their name!

The Irvin Rockets took home first place in their division and showed the nation that El Paso definitely has what it takes to perform on the big stage.

El Paso / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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