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Alyse Ritvo of Oakland, Calif., was announced the inaugural winner of the ITT Award for Excellence in Student Water Journalism (AESWJ), a program created by ITT Industries, a world leader in the development and production of technology for moving, handling and treating water and wastewater. Through this award, ITT recognizes an aspiring journalist who reports on water-related environmental issues, and in turn raises awareness and encourages further exploration of solutions to global water challenges.
Ritvo, 18, a senior at Head-Royce School in Oakland, was given the award for her feature article titled “Sure You Drink Bottled Water, But Do You Know Why?” which explores America’s love for bottled water and the lack of access to safe drinking water for billions of others in developing nations. Ritvo’s article was named the winner by a judging panel of top environmental, science and water journalists and industry leaders from a pool of articles submitted nationwide. The competition was administered by the Quill and Scroll Society, the international honorary society for high school journalists.
“Water-borne diseases resulting from a lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation kill more children each year than any other illness in the world. By 2030, when today’s 10-year-old will be working and raising a family, experts estimate that three billion people will live in areas of severe water shortage,” said Steve Loranger, CEO of ITT Industries. “By creating this award, ITT Industries aims to cultivate awareness and encourage future generations of leaders to voice these issues and work toward a solution that will ensure global access to clean, safe water.”
The winner was announced at the Journalism Educators Association (JEA) / National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Spring National High School Journalism Convention on April 22 in San Francisco. Ritvo and her faculty advisor will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to attend and report from the 2006 Stockholm Water Symposium, which takes place as part of the annual World Water Week, August 20 to 26, 2006. Upon publication of her article about World Water Week, Ritvo will be awarded an additional $1,000 cash prize.
“As noted in Alyse’s article, industrialized nations are spending billions of dollars on bottled water while developing countries struggle to find access to a reliable supply of clean water,” said Dick Johns, executive director of the Quill and Scroll Society. “By creating and supporting the ITT Award for Excellence in Student Water Journalism, we hope to encourage future journalists to report on water and the environment, moving water scarcity issues to the top of the agenda for communities around the world. Because this topic is of international significance, we plan to expand the 2007 award program to take place in additional countries that participate in activities during World Water Week.”