Wantagh Warrior features old-school journalism


The young journalists of Wantagh High School’s student newspaper, The Warrior, are making an impact both in print and online.

Editor-in-chief Michelle Smith, a senior, received honorable mention in the best sports story category in the Quill Journalism competition. Awards were presented at Adelphi University’s Press Day on Feb. 16. Her piece, which appeared in The Warrior’s fall edition, was a recap of the 2023 varsity football season. Michelle was the paper’s sports editor last year and plans to major in broadcast journalism in college, with aspirations of becoming an NHL announcer.

“I was really excited and it was nice to get the recognition in as a senior,” Michelle said of receiving the award. “I love getting to explore what I’m passionate about and I do enjoy writing about a variety of topics.”

Newspaper adviser Chris Rafferty commended Michelle for her hard work and dedication to the paper, from writing stories, to planning each edition, to managing a staff.

“Michelle is a phenomenal editor-in-chief and deserves every accolade that she gets,” he said. “She is a very talented writer and interviewer.”

The Warrior is expanding beyond its thrice-annual print publication. Michelle and junior Lorenzo Hilliard have joined together to expand The Warrior’s reach by using social media. Michelle took over management of the Instagram account as a junior, and this year welcomed Lorenzo to the team, whose video interviews with students and teachers are creating a buzz around the school.

Lorenzo’s Corner launched in January and he posts one or two new interviews each week on the @wantagh_warrior_newspaper Instagram account. He asks the interview subjects about music, school activities, favorite foods and more.

His inspiration comes from Instagram and TikTok personalities who do on-the-street interviews, and wanted to bring that to Wantagh High School. Lorenzo said it merges his interests in theater and journalism.

“It adds something original to the school,” Lorenzo said, noting that the interviews are light-hearted and meant to make people smile. “Everyone seems to love it.”

Michelle added that The Warrior’s growing presence on Instagram is beneficial to the newspaper and brings more attention to the great work of the newspaper staff. When people visit the Instagram page to view Lorenzo’s Corner, they frequently click on the link to The Warrior website in the bio section to read the latest stories.