Liberty High School, Heritage High School and the Career and Technical Education Center received recognition for the hard work of their student journalism programs. Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) presents awards honoring the best in scholastic journalism.
NSPA, a nonprofit founded in 1921, provides journalism guidance to students, teachers and advisers throughout the United States. Since 1927, NSPA presents a series of awards including the coveted Pacemaker.
Entries are judged by teams of professionals with media-related experience and expertise in the area of each particular contest. The judges analyzed the stories for coverage and content, writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics. The top winners in each category received plaques and the finalists receive certificates.
Liberty High School was named a finalist for the Broadcast Pacemaker award for their WTV Daily Update, which is under the direction of instructor Brian Higgins and student editors Wade Glover, Caitlyn Kleibert, Divya Murali, Neha Perumalia and Marisa Uddin.
"Being recognized on a national level for the work of both Wingspan and WTV is such a great honor and one we always hope for, and work for, but it's never assumed,” Higgins said. “These honors are a reflection of the countless hours my students spend covering the school and its community. Being given the opportunity to tell the stories of others is a great responsibility and we do our best to do these stories justice."
The District also received a number of recognitions honoring individuals in scholastic journalism.
Josie Woodward, Liberty High School student, received first place as the top 2018 Digital Story of the Year for her blog tracking her personal journey with mental health struggles. Josie’s blog, Josie’s Journey, is a honest, vulnerable account of how her anxiety drove her to the edge before she was able to find help.
Neha Perumalla received an honorable mention for her Liberty High School WTV Daily Update broadcast news story for her March For Our Lives coverage. Perumalla’s story was about a rally where thousands gathered at Dallas City Hall in support of gun regulations in the spring of 2018 following the Parkland shooting.
Lauren Goodman received an honorable mention for her broadcast feature story for the Career and Technical Education Center’s Frisco ISD-TV, Custodian of Citizenship, about the citizenship journey of a staff member at Clark Middle School and how the community came together to celebrate her.
Roy Nitzan and Keegan Williams received fifth place recognition for their multimedia sports story about Texas actor Matthew McConaughey’s participation in a softball game benefitting the Lone Survivor Foundation in McConaughey makes celebrity softball game ‘alright alright alright’ for Wingspan, the Liberty High School student news site.
Parker Butler, 2018 Liberty High School graduate, received an honorable mention for his Wingspan podcast, Politics with Parker, for his coverage of the Apr. 20, 2018 student walkout.
Kasey Harvey and Catie Reeves received an honorable mention for Leaving Temple behind, Jones brothers blend in with Roehig family for Liberty High School’s Wingspan as the Feature Story of the Year. The moving story follows the journey of two young men who moved from Temple, Texas, to Frisco in hope of finding stability and opportunity.
The Tribute Yearbook staff of Heritage High School, led by Leah Waters, won sixth place Best in Show at NSPA’s National High School Journalism Convention.
Students who attended the convention also had an opportunity to compete in the on-site Journalism Education Association competitions. Heritage High School winners include:
Lonna Larsen - Second Place for Photo of the Year in Sports Reaction
Josh Whalen - Superior in Review Writing
Beau Warrington - Superior in Portrait Photo
Meaghan Crawford - Honorable Mention in Feature Writing
Riley Vernon - Honorable Mention in Yearbook Copy/Caption Academics
Blaire Russell - Honorable Mention in Yearbook Copy/Caption Clubs
Sydney Hansel - Honorable Mention in Photo of the Year in Environmental Portrait
The full list of nationwide winners can be found on the NSPA website.