ICE CAPADES ... The 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships proved to be momentous for Palo Alto's Vincent Zhou, who collected his first world medal, a bronze, on March 23 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan, about 21.5 miles north of Tokyo. The 18-year-old also made history when he joined fellow American male skater Nathan Chen on the podium, marking the first time that two U.S. men stood on the world-championships podium since 1996, according to Team USA. The award is redemption for Zhou, who finished 19th overall at last year's world championships after taking third in the short program. It seems like Zhou is on a roll — he placed second behind Chen at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in late January and third at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships a few weeks ago. He easily earned nearly 20 points for his quad Lutz-triple toe combo that kicked off his free skate at the world championships. "It felt incredible," Zhou told Team USA. "Everything came together today. To have the opportunity to do that on such a big stage... I'm really proud of myself for staying in my own bubble." He added: "To end this experience like this is really incredible."
BUDDING JOURNALIST ... Palo Alto High School senior Ashley Hitchings, co-editor-in-chief of the school's Verde Magazine, has been picked as California's Journalist of the Year by the state Journalism Education Association, the organization announced earlier this month. Along with the state title, Hitchings will receive the $500 Arnetta Garcin Memorial Scholarship and a spot in the association's national contest that will announce its winners in late April. Hitchings is the fourth student from Paly to earn the award. Her predecessors are sports magazine editor George Brown (2011) and Verde editors Evelyn Wang (2013) and Jack Brook (2015). Her career in journalism started in her sophomore year through a beginners class and she joined the Verde team that same school year. Hitchings has built a substantive portfolio in less than three years, sharing a byline for a 2017 story that centered on Kim Diorio's resignation as school principal and the federal Office for Civil Rights' investigation into the school district's Title IX violations. The article won second place in feature writing from the National Federation of Press Women and first place for a general feature from association's northern California chapter. "As a reporter and editor, Ashley has been a vigorous pursuer of truth and crafter of important stories," Verde adviser Paul Kandell wrote in an award recommendation letter for Hitchings.
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