Highlights receives Pacemaker

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The print edition of Highlights received one of the top honors for high school newspapers:  The Pacemaker.

Pacemaker finalists and recipients were announced on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio, TX.  Fifty-five schools were chosen as finalists and 22 schools were recognized as Pacemakers.

Upon learning of the win, former editor-in-chief Mallika Sen, now a freshman at Georgetown University, “screamed a bit too loudly in the dining hall.”

The National Scholastic Press Association judged all entries on specific criteria: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, layout and design, and photography, art and graphics.

Both the print and on-line editions of Highlights were entered in Best of Show, and the website received eighth place.

All 12 of the paper’s attendees competed in write-offs on Friday, Nov. 16.  With over 1,100 competitors, 677 were write-off winners. Winners were awarded Honorable Mention, Excellent or Superior in their categories.

For eight straight hours, web editor-in-chief Pasha Farmanara, print editor-in-chief Julia Waldow and social media director Dami Kim competed in the On line News Package. They received a rating of Superior in their category.

“It’s amazing to see this website growing so quickly,” Farmanara said.  “It shows how strong of a staff we are…it started off with just nine kids…and now it’s amazing to see the progression,” Farmanara and Waldow, who were both on the original staff of nine students, said together.

Senior staff writer Jessica Saadian received Superior for her review of the boat ride along the city’s River Walk. Print culture editor Danny Licht received Excellent for his feature story about an English Bulldog who paints her own art.  With her cartoon warning about the dangers of social media, cartoonist Sasha Park took Excellent in editorial cartooning. Print sports editor Arman Zadeh received an Excellent for his sports story about the Special Olympics.

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