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Thank you for visiting my portfolio! My name is Reena Alsakaji, and I’m a senior at Munster High School. I am the current Editor-in-Chief of my school’s student-run newspaper Crier. I have been on staff since January 2021, and my love for telling authentic stories has only grown since then. With every issue that passed, I grew. Through learning about cases such as Tinker vs. Des Moines and reporting stories on the increasingly diverse population at MHS, I became far more interested in stories than essays.

I am also a freelance reporter for the Lansing Journal. My experiences there have allowed me to broaden my coverage; though Crier tends to localize much larger topics, I learned the value in covering events in a close-knit community. This included attending events throughout Illinois and talking to individuals I had never met; some events included a Juneteenth celebration in South Holland, Illinois or a story on the Lansing Historical Society.

In any case, I learned the value of storytelling as an artform.

Staff Testimony

“Having been with Reena since Journalism 101, I am one of two people that has seen her progress as a journalist. We struggled together in our first semester of Crier: trying to navigate this foreign style of writing, InDesign and interviews. Progressing with each story, Reena has made great improvements to her writing. Where she would shy away from details, Reena now carefully constructs interviews so that questions methodically pull at the interviewee’s emotions, ensuring the content clearly portrays to the reader how people are being affected. I recall how we would timidly write emails to potential interviewees and shying away from follow-up questions. Now, she is unafraid to track down a basketball player’s lunch and ask if he’d be interested in an interview.”

Josephine Mittelberger, Guest Editor and Design Chief

“Reena is one of the most dedicated people I know, and I believe it reflects in her leadership and writing. She strives to make her work the best it could possibly be and encourages others to do the same. With her as Editor-in-Chief, I feel more motivated to push myself and work harder. Reena is extremely passionate and driven in everything she is involved in, and it truly shows through in the quality of her work.”

Lauren Hoogeveen, story editor