Just like I was the first time I opened the pages of a ReMarker newspaper, I hope my readers are transported every time they leave my stories. Every time I sit down to write, I find myself lost in the worlds concocted by the words of my interview subjects as I have the opportunity to mold my own as I write a story. With only the space on the page to hold me back, I let my fingers fly every time I sit down to write a story, one that’s never done until the deadline comes.
My writing has received awards from the National Scholastic Press Association and Columbia Scholastic Press Association as well as state recognition from the Interscholastic League Press Conference and The Dallas Morning News. Here’s a collection of my best and favorite pieces from the past four years, everything from personality profiles and personal columns to in-depth issue-driven and feature stories.
This year, I’m most proud of the first writing sample presented below, an incisive look at the effects in my community of the Senate hearings on the confirmation of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the testimony of accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Issue-driven, relevant stories have been a hallmark of ReMarker coverage in recent years, and I knew we had to tell this story, one that in this era of #MeToo was even more important for me to tell to our community, an all-boys school in the South.
Echoes of Silence
In the wake of the Senate hearings involving now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, we attempted to answer some key questions on the consequences of high school action, the culture of silencing rape accusers and our own education on the topic, especially pertinent at an all-boys high school.
When one our school’s chief benefactors passed away at the age of 106, I was tasked with recounting her life in a way that would truthfully represent her unsurpassed generosity to her community, one that extended far beyond St. Mark’s. For this story, I had no word limit (within reason), so I wrote freely, crafting a piece that could do her life justice.
After the football team’s starting quarterback was rushed to the hospital in the third quarter of the biggest game of the year, everyone was hoping for two things: his health and his return to the field. After missing only the winter season, he was back to join the baseball and football teams as soon as spring began.
First Place, Sports Feature, Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Keeping Us Safe
After a former St. Mark’s faculty member was implicated in a report detailing systemic sexual abuse by teachers at Philips Exeter Academy before he came to teach at our school, we capitalized on the opportunity to educate the student body on measures the school had taken to ensure the same issues would not arise on our own campus.
Editorial: We’re Not Ignoring It
In an editorial that accompanied the above cover story, we addressed what we saw as the biased way in which local media had portrayed the school as the controversy surfaced. This editorial offered a reasoned challenge to the media outlet’s allegations. We feel this was a necessary rebuttal to support our school, its administrators, and our community.
Taken Too Soon
In our freshman beginning journalism course, we are tasked with writing a story on an issue in our community. Looking to write a story that would make a true impact, despite my inexperience, I decided to write on cancer. I told the stories of two students—a freshman and a senior—who had recently lost their parents to the disease.
Second Place, Long Feature, Dallas Morning News High School Journalism Competition
Coming Into Focus
In an environment where stress and time management are skills repeatedly drilled into students by years of trial and error, it came as a surprise to many that a poll we conducted showed that nearly a fifth of the school’s population had used a stimulant without a prescription. After hearing that, we decided to tell the story through the eyes of those who use them both legally and illegally and by talking to experts to understand the true effects.
As the Years Tick By
As we dove into the first issue of the new year, I wanted to take the opportunity to capture the sentiment many seniors do as their graduation date approaches. But I had another take on it. Every place my name is written around campus, I’m known as “Parker Davis ’19.” That year — 2019 — had always seemed imaginary. But now, it was here.
A football coach in Washington had been fired from his job in 2015 for praying after football games, and his appeal had just been denied. But before every game, our football team prays in the locker room, and our chaplain leads a prayer out on the field. A majority of our students are not Episcopalian, so I wanted to figure out why.
First Grade Fast Break
Looking to find an unconventional story for the sports section, I immediately thought of the Lower School, the most underrepresented portion of the school, at least in the newspaper. One Saturday, I drove to a local elementary school to watch our future hoops stars take on a fellow Metroplex juggernaut.
First Place, Sports News Writing, Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
A Legacy Set in Stone
As our school prepared to open up an entirely new science center in January, we created an eight-page special section in order to help the student body understand what to expect. To “demystify” the name that would be engraved on the top of the building, I spoke with the Winn family about their involvement with the school and with the building.
The Other Name Across Their Backs
After the Athletic Department decided a senior who had committed to play soccer collegiately, but who played with a club team rather the school’s, would not be invited to participate in the school’s ceremony for committed athletes, I knew we needed to help students understand not only why some choose to play sports with club teams, but also why they would not be recognized alongside their classmates.
The Language of Sports
After returning from a summer program at a school in the northeast, one memory stuck with me: a basketball game that I had played with people from across the world. We didn’t speak the same language, but basketball brought us together for an afternoon I still relive when I’m sitting in the stands.
For the first time in a decade, our school did not win the Athletic Directors’ Cup, a trophy given to the team with the best overall athletic program in the conference. Because of that dominance, most students had no idea what it even was, so I decided to introduce them to the Cup, its history and its significance.
Second Place, Sports News, Interscholastic League Press Conference
First Place, Sports News, Dallas Morning News High School Journalism Competition
Is This What Activism Looks Like?
In the midst of planning a magazine on activism, protests in the NFL spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick began to receive much more public attention, and students at Dallas-area public schools had begun to do the same thing. Curious how the community as a whole would receive that display on campus, I set out to ask those unasked questions.
The Money Machine
Coming to terms with the simple fact that youth sports have become more focused on money in recent years, I realized we had to help other students understand the position we were in at St. Mark’s. In order to do that, I went off-campus to talk to students and a coach from a local majority Hispanic high school in Dallas.
Third Place, Sports Feature, Columbia Scholastic Press Association
As the winter season began, I walked past a basketball practice and was struck by the fact that they had six assistant coaches helping run drills, more than a typical professional team. Immediately, I contrasted that with soccer, which has none. So I decided to dive into that topic to better understand the imbalance between sports across our community
Feast on This
Every student at our school is, in some form, an athlete. And behind every athlete is a balanced diet. Through conducting over a dozen interviews with athletes and coaches, I crafted a package that could serve as a simple multi-step guide to students looking to eat healthier or find a way to change their food intake in order to benefit athletically.
Two Years Down, Two To Go
At the beginning of my junior year, I couldn’t help but think about how I was halfway done not only with my high school academics, but my high school athletics. As sports editor, I put pen to paper to craft my first sports column on the broader theme of appreciating the time we all have at such an amazing high school.
Cat’s in the Cradle
When LaVar Ball continued to make national headlines for his overwhelming involvement in his kids’ athletic careers, I talked to one father, who attends every one of his son’s football practices, to seek an understanding on how he avoids an unhealthy relationship with his son and others and the son to see how he feels about it.
Each year, an exchange student joins the school’s student body. Hailing from the Canary Islands, then junior Juan Montabes was a highly skilled soccer player from a country much more focused on the sport at all levels. I spent time with him and his new coach to understand how he was hoping to fit into a new athletic environment in the U.S.
Like Father, Like Son?
Across all levels of our school, coaches are fathers and their sons are students. Because all students are required to participate in some sort of physical activity, the question is clear: how are those students’ relationships with their fathers? And will they play for them when the time comes?
Calling the Shots
While many students dream of playing on a professional sports field, some of our school’s alumni have taken their passion for athletics in another direction, finding their way to the front offices of numerous major sports franchises. We worked to tell students about their journeys from desks at St. Mark’s to luxurious boxes in stadiums across the country.
Down for the Count
During the first scrimmage of the season, the football team’s starting quarterback went down with a collarbone injury, the third time in as many years he had suffered the injury. Having donned his St. Mark’s uniform for the final time, his emotions were running high as he had to come to the terms with the fact he wouldn’t see the football field again.
In the era of technology, esports have gained traction as a true athletic endeavor. Colleges offer scholarships for players, and the best athletes can now make millions each year. We decided, in order to have a sports section that represented “sports in the twenty-first century,” we had to take on esports.
While the quick turnaround writing online often means the source I’m confined to is an airline or government’s press release, I’ve learned to make the most of that opportunity through extensive research and analysis that has led to a successful writing career at AirlineGeeks.com. Here are a few of my favorite and most successful pieces from AirlineGeeks.com.
Click the links below each description to read the story on AirlineGeeks.com.
Beyond the One Inch Difference
As Airbus’s new A350-1000 completed its maiden flight in November 2016, I took the opportunity to write a massive in-depth analysis piece comparing it to its chief competitor: Boeing’s 777-300ER. In both 2017 and 2018, this article was the most read article on AirlineGeeks.com.
The Gulf’s Aviation Industry: Rags to Riches
Hands down, my favorite topic to write on is the controversial Gulf carriers. For all the news stories I’d written, I had never taken a deep dive into the history of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. So I decided to do so in mid-2017, not spurred by any particular event, but simply my fascination for a piece of the industry poorly represented in the U.S.
The Rise and Fall of Flights from Iran to Western Europe
For this analysis piece coming on the heels of the lifting of sanctions against Iran, I worked to illustrate the fluctuations in a particular international market. This piece was republished by Business Insider.
Three Weeks In
As the U.S. government shutdown continued to reel its ugly head in mid-January, I wrote this piece to show the effects it had on the airline industry, from the airlines themselves to the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration.
First Look: American’s 787-9 Dreamliner
With American Airlines’s newest fleet member resting at DFW Airport, I grabbed my camera and became one of the first reporters to get a look at the new aircraft up close (the Washington Post came a few hours before I did). I put together a package with both photos and my own analysis of the new Dreamliner.
Did U.S. Airlines Jump Into Cuba Too Quickly?
In what would become the first of a series of opinion articles I did on Cuba, I looked at the cutbacks airlines were making to new services to Cuba, a market that had been oversaturated as the Cuban and American governments opened up international routes for the first time in decades.