WESTFIELD, NJ — Recent Westfield High School graduate Jorge Ledesma is the winner of the first annual TAP into Westfield Journalism Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship was awarded based on participation in the TAP into Westfield student journalism program, willingness to learn and intent to continue using those skills in college.

Ledesma will attend Harvard University in the fall.

“The TAP into Westfield scholarship serves as a much-appreciated reminder of the dedication I had while working with the paper for last two years,” Ledesma said. “As I move on to my collegiate endeavors, I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for the support of TAP into Westfield, especially considering  the financial burden that is a college education today.”

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While participating in the TAP into Westfield program since his junior year, Ledesma often wrote about Westfield High School sports, with guidance from TAP into Sports Editor Tim LeCras.

“Throughout my TAP internship, I was able to hone not only my writing but also interpersonal skills,” Ledesma said. “From the reporter who was initially hesitant to ask players question, I slowly found that the people I was interviewing wanted to express their opinions so there was nothing to be apprehensive about. From a writing perspective, I learned the importance of being concise and I could see over time the ways journalistic and academic writing differ.”

Ledesma plans to study government and economics when school begins later this month.

“I would like to serve a role within our government at some point in my career,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been granted and hope to continue to pursue service to my community and to the people that make it unique.”

“Jorge is an amazing student — not only talented but hard-working and committed to improving himself and the world around him. Teaching Jorge and the other fantastic Westfield High School students in our program these past few years has truly been an honor,” TAP into Westfield Owner and Editor Jackie Lieberman said. “When I was a student, I was fortunate enough that people in the professional writing world mentored me and awarded me scholarships that made it possible for me to get a degree in journalism. I’m thankful for the opportunity to pay that forward to the next generation.”

The scholarship and program would not be possible without the support of the local businesses that advertise on TAP into Westfield, Lieberman said.

“Please, if you love TAP into and what we do for our community, take the time to thank those advertisers for making these things possible,” she said.

TAP into Westfeld is seeking high school students to participate in its student journalism program for the 2015-2016 school year. To learn more, email jlieberman@tapinto.net.