2013 Bixby Residential NHHS Media Scholarship–WINNER for Print Journalism


This student demonstrates a superb command of language and fashions well-reasoned arguments.  I’m told she has amazingly persuasive powers over University admissions offices.  The winner for Print Journalism with her entry “No ID?  No Problem!”, DANA SIEGEL.  Congratulations, Dana! — Grant Bixby

Dana Siegel

*Featured in the October 2012 issue of The Beacon

No ID? No Problem! 

Maybe it’s just me but…

Why is the issue of photo voter identification so controversial? You can’t go to an R-rated movie without showing your driver’s license at the box office. You can’t take the SAT or ACT exams without presenting two forms of matching identification. You can’t board an international flight without taking out your passport. You can’t attend school concerts, sporting events, or any of our dances without your photo identification card.  Our society has accepted and understands the necessity for proof of identity for all these activities, some of them relatively trivial. Why does so much controversy and argument swirl around the simple requirement that every voter show verification of identity before exercising his or her constitutional right to cast a ballot?

It has become one of this election season’s political footballs.  It seems like common sense to have to show proof of citizenship to be able to vote. However, only twenty-seven out of fifty states require ID, and out of those twenty-seven only four insist that the ID contain a picture.  California demands neither photo nor non-photo identification.  Our state, which has the most Electoral College votes, 20 more than the next highest state, does not carefully monitor who is voting in elections. Mighty California, the most populous and arguably the most influential state in the union has almost no oversight and little control at the ballot box. What could possibly be wrong with that? Ah, yes, the potential for numerous variations of voter fraud.

Fraudulent voting is a long-standing, time honored, American tradition.  It’s well known that it occurred with regularity during the Tammany Hall controlled 19th century. In the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 Presidential Election there was a suspicion that the ballot boxes were stuffed in Illinois at the direction of mob controlled union interest groups. Some scholars believe that Kennedy may have won the Presidential votes he needed in that remarkably close election as a result of fraudulent votes.

Everything from casting votes in the name of deceased citizens, voting under the age of eighteen, non-citizens participating in elections, and multiple voting by individuals takes place as a result of inefficient monitoring and poor regulation.  It’s difficult to judge the extent of voter fraud problems because of the difficulty in tracking it.  If done ‘right’, it’s undetectable. As a result the statistics for fraudulent voting are almost certainly inaccurately low.  All of this occurs as a result of unacceptably lax voting ID requirements.

Americans should proudly carry photo identification as a symbol of their right to vote and their endorsement of an honest and fair election process. The argument that requiring photo ID would somehow disadvantage the poor and uneducated minorities is a straw man. It is not comparable, in any way, to the illegal “literacy tests” of the 1950s. 21st century technology would make proper identification easily accessible and available to anyone legally entering a voting booth for local, state, and federal elections. A federal law mandating that requirement should be passed and enacted now. It’s one thing to sneak into an R-rated movie, it’s an entirely different and much more serious offense to illegally participate in an American election.

2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner — Film

FIRST PRIZE –Sophia Leveque

*NOTE:  Sophia Leveque won for her short film “The College Application Process.”  We apologize, but her link is no longer available for viewing.  If we can work through some technical difficulties we will post the film ASAP.

Thanks for your understanding,



2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner — Still Photography

FIRST PRIZE — Meaghan Kay

This is a photograph of a light house in Maine famous for being a part of the movie “Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks. Forrest visits this light house while on his journey running across the country. I took this photo in July of 2011 with my Nikon D3000 when my family and I visited Maine and the east coast, and this was one of my favorite locations we visited. Not only because “Forrest Gump” was the first movie I ever saw in theatres, but because of the beauty and simplicity this location provided. I especially like the distinct lines each terrain creates, from grass, to rocks, to open ocean. The wooden bridge to the light house leads your eyes through to each different type of land.


2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner – Journalism

FIRST PRIZE — Blake Bakkila

December 11, 2011

“Proactive Over Reactive,” By Blake Bakkila

Less than two months after the tragic tree-falling incident that took the life of Haeyoon Miller, yet another Irvine Avenue accident hits much closer to home.  Just steps away from school campus, senior Crystal Morales was struck by an oncoming vehicle, and she is now in medically induced coma with critical injuries.  However, the reason I compare the two events is not because of their proximity but because of their aftermaths.

On September 14, Miller was waiting at a stoplight when a 60-foot tree crushed her Hyundai, causing fatal injuries.  Seven days later, the city had approved and ordered workers to cut down approximately 100 eucalyptus trees.  Despite the speed and efficiency, it was reported that workers who had performed tests on the trees prior to the accident knew that some trees were aged and even infested with bugs.  What if the city had approved the tree cutting before Miller’s life was taken?  What happened to the idea of being proactive?

Every day, I use the crosswalk on Irvine Avenue to go to and from campus.  I try to do all the correct signals, like making eye contact with drivers and putting my hand when crossing.  While it is imperative to do this, I can’t help but wonder, why?  Why is it that there are marked crosswalks surrounding Newport Harbor and not an actual streetlight?  Regrettably, I have complained about the ridiculous speeds of some drivers but have failed to take action on my opinion.  However, I cannot grasp the idea that our school district or city will only make preventative decisions following a tragedy like Miller’s or Morales’.

Down the street from NHHS, Mariners Elementary School has a streetlight to help pedestrians safely cross the street.  Implemented in 2009, the plan included pedestrian and bicycle signal hardware, a new crosswalk and safety lighting, and ADA handicap ramps, and cost $175,065 in federal funds.  While expensive, this has contributed to the safety of many and would undoubtedly protect those at Newport Harbor if the same actions were taken.

Today, I have noticed increased intervention from the NBPD and campus security guards, as they have been helping educate students about properly crossing the street.  I commend these officials for their concern, and hope members of the district can have a similar, even more effective response.  Making the crosswalk safer will mitigate future accidents involving pedestrians, but taking a more proactive response to other issues will contribute to even fewer local crises.

NHHS Bixby Media Scholarship Deadline EXTENDED

Notice to all applicants:  The NHHS Bixby Residential Media Scholarship deadline has been extended to May 21, 2012.  Below are the entry guidelines.



The Bixby Residential Media Scholarship @ NHHS is open to ALL senior students who wish to submit an entry.  Acceptable submissions may be posted at www.bixbyblog.com and in the NHHS Beacon at the discretion of the sponsor and NHHS staff.  Any student featured in an entry MUST complete the NHHS media release form and have it on file with the school.  Students will generate community interest entries in either print journalism, still photography, or video/film components.  Students may submit more than one entry in any category.  NHHS staff, guidance counselor Grace Nguyen, and Grant Bixby will vote on the winner for each category.  Those winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship award with no strings attached.  The goal is to promote creativity, individuality, and freedom of expression.


Submissions accepted beginning January 15, 2012

Submission deadline is May 21, 2012

Sample Topics include:

  • Not-for-profit Spotlight—Showcase a worthy cause
  • Special Event Coverage—Report on a newsworthy happening
  • Arts & Sciences—Feature a performance, art exhibit, science fair
  • Business & Community Issues—Report on a topic of local importance
  • The Op/Ed or commentary piece


Maximum word count of 1,000.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  No personal essays or fiction.  This is a journalism, non-fiction reporting contest. Submit as a Word document.  Entries may include one photograph or illustration if it helps the story, but it is NOT required.  $1,000 prize.  2nd Place receives “Honorable Mention” in all categories.

Still Photography:

One image or a sequence is O.K.  Must receive both print and digital copy of image(s) in an acceptable format (JPEG or other).  Protect images accordingly in envelope with cardboard or other.  Important:  accompany image with 250 word (max) description of image, where taken, camera & film details.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  $1,000 prize.


Maximum running time of 5 minutes.  Submit in suitable electronic file type or YouTube type link.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  $1,000 prize.

***Include student name, telephone, address, and email with each submission.

Submit to: grant@bixbyresidential.com (electronic) and mail or drop hard copies to Bixby Residential @ CB Previews, 140 Newport Center Drive, Suite 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660


WINNER 1st Prize, NHHS Print Journalism by Kiori Snyder

Think Before You Speak

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me”…right?  Truth is, emotional damage leaves a greater impact than physical damage on an individual.

I feel that when attending a large public school that facilitates students of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, and minorities, the subject of discrimination should never be taken lightly.  As I walk through the halls everyday I can’t help but hear terms such as “that’s gay” and “retarded” being thrown around as if they mean nothing.  Society today doesn’t realize how they are affecting the feelings of others when they use discriminating language. Why do we do this, to build ourselves up at the expense of bringing others down?

With the pressures of being a teenager in high school, discrimination at school should be that last thing on our mind. Luckily, our school houses clubs that bring the students together, such as BRIDGES, an active club on campus with many diverse members. They promote non-discrimination with various activities and their “That’s W.H.A.C.K.” (Words Hurt And Can Kill) campaign.

BRIDGES president, senior Mary Clare Doolin, feels “it is wrong that people are being discriminated against because of something they can’t help or change.”

Spanish teacher, Ms. Branch also does her part in promoting equality.  In her class room, if a student uses any type of controversial language, they must face their consequences by putting money into her “Swear Jar.”  Branch feels that although her efforts only help a little, they “make the students aware” of their actions and how they can affect others.

Principal Michael Vossen believes that “the priority of the school should be to have a positive learning environment” for all of the students and that “respect should be part of the school’s culture.”

No one should ever fear coming to school will cause pain and suffering upon them; to combat the prejudice we face at our school, students must come together and treat others the way they should be treated.


WINNER 2nd Prize NHHS Print Entry: Yosemite Field Study

By Sheyna Holmes

Newport Harbor Field Trip to Yosemite

The bus explodes with laughter and chatter as we depart for Yosemite National Park.  I sit in a crowd of unfamiliar faces that are destined to become friendly and familiar ones.  As we putt along, our bus chases countless rainbows that crane over highways and peek over rolling hills.  After roughly nine hours of playing games, eating, and trying to sleep, we arrive in Curry Village where cabins are waiting for us.

The morning reveals fresh and untouched snow that rounds and softens everything in sight.  Throughout the course of the trip, we manage to hike, snow shoe, cross-country ski, and even crawl through caves.  We soak up every sight while hiking through the valley and are grateful to be in the moment with no stress or responsibilities.  As I hike I observe snow dolloped on charcoal colored rocks and snowflakes lightly swirling through the air.  Our first challenge is to crawl on our knees and shuffle on our backs through pitch black spider caves.  I wiggle and shift through tiny spaces and trust the person in front of me to warn me about what is ahead.

After a night of angry snow bombs on our roof, we map out our plans to reach the Muir Cabin in the Merced Grove.   A bus drops us off at the trail head and we begin to blaze our own trail using snow-shoes to reach the cabin that is a mile and a half away.  Everything is an untouched winter wonderland.  The trees arch over from the weight of the snow and appear like figures out of a Dr. Seuss book.  All ten of my toes go numb and I feel like I’m walking on nubs.  As dusk approaches us, we reach the cabin with burning thighs and hunger in our stomachs.  We make ourselves at home and sleep on the bare wood floor.

We awake the next morning with sore ribs and hips and are notified that all the roads are closed.  This means we have to hike eight miles back to our new camp at Crane Flat.  We begin our trek with determination and bellies full of oatmeal.  After hiking for three hours, we receive good news that the head Chef at Crane Flat is coming to rescue us.  We are taken back to Crane Flat where we receive the best night of sleep yet.

We spend the last day cross-country skiing and enjoying the simplicity of life.  On this trip, all social cliques united, clocks became insignificant, and dependency on electronics dissipated.  I realized how small I am in the grand scheme of things, but what I do can negatively change the big picture.  I learned to be less wasteful and leave no trace of myself in the wilderness.  The unfamiliar faces turned to familiar and I returned home with total relaxation, unforgettable experiences in my memory, and a new mind set.