Twins Olivia and Justine Moore sweep state's top high school honors

One recent day the phone rang and Olivia Moore received the happy news that she had been named high school journalist of the year by the Oregon Journalism Education Association.

Then the caller asked Olivia, 'Could I talk to your sister?' Yes, twin sister Justine was right there, and she was told she was runner-up as Oregon's high school journalist of the year.

It was nice for the Moore sisters to keep this high honor all in the family.

'We usually do stuff together,' noted Justine. Obviously, this includes winning awards.

Truly, the Moore sisters are alike in a lot of ways. They are 17-year-old seniors at Lakeridge High School, both are outstanding students headed toward a blue chip American university (Dartmouth, Stanford, and the University of Virginia are among the schools with a chance to enroll these outstanding girls in the fall), and both are athletic.

If you look closely, you will find an occasional difference between them. Justine is an enthusiastic horsewoman. Olivia is not.

'She fell off a little pony when she was 8 years old,' explained Justine.

But what the twins like to do the most, it seems, is journalism. They started writing quite young. Olivia was given the assignment of creating a newspaper for a class project.

'I loved it,' she said, 'so I had to join the newspaper staff at Lakeridge.'

'A month later I joined, too,' Justine said.

The Moore sisters have ignited the Newspacer with their own special style of journalism. Olivia is the editor in chief of content, while Justine is copy editor and also editor of the school's new online edition. Together, the sisters have written a column called 'Twin Talk' for the last few years.

'Last year we wrote a column together called 'Pro and Con,'' Olivia said.

'It was hard because we have the same opinion on everything,' Justine said.

'Now we just write stuff together,' Olivia said.

The sisters strongly agree on using boldness to tackle controversial issues, of which there are many at Lakeridge High.

'As sophomores we wrote a column about the use of alcohol at school dances,' Olivia said. 'There were some girls who did not like that. This year we wrote a column that was critical about the Young Life group on campus.'

'We've written about the inequality of athletic budgets, even when participants are paying the same amount to play,' Justine said. 'We've written about online bullying and drug use.

'We're known for writing things like that. We ask each other, 'I wonder if we wrote anything that will get us in trouble this week?''

Lakeridge newspaper adviser Erin Schloetter has the highest praise for the girls.

'As a teacher, I've been privileged to have them both for four years,' Schloetter said. 'Olivia is the best journalist I've worked with in 14 years as a newspaper adviser. It's hard for me to say that because it sounds like Justine isn't as good. The truth is she is one of the top five students that I've encountered in my career.

'Both Olivia and Justine have tackled topics that make many adults nervous, but I'm proud to say that their pieces show what students can do when they are allowed to write stories that mean something to them.'

The twins can't get enough journalism during the school year. They have spent their summers writing for other publications. Olivia went to New York last summer to intern at The Bedford Review, while the horse-loving Justine went to work for American Quarter Horse Journal in Oklahoma.

From all of their news writing experiences, they compiled huge portfolios to send to the Oregon Journalism Education Association, which is why they are No. 1 and No. 2.

Olivia is now eligible to be named national high school journalist of the year, and on April 8 she will be heading to the national convention in Seattle.

For a role model, Olivia goes all the way to the top: Jill Abramson, the first female managing executive editor in the history of The New York Times.

Olivia: 'I love her. I'm going to write her a fan letter.' Justine: 'Don't do it! That's creepy!' Olivia: 'I'm going to do it!'

The Moore sisters can agree to disagree. But they still hope to agree on a college.

'We would really like to go together,' Justine said.

Yes, it would be a great idea to keep this crack team of journalists together.

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