Spark Magazine, run by students at Lakota East High School for the past 21 years, won its 10th national Pacemaker award at the National Scholastic Press Association/Journalism Education Association Fall National Convention in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 15-18.
The award is also unofficially called the “High School Pulitzer Prize” and was awarded to only 27 schools nationally. Prize winners, which are determined by a panel of professional media members from the convention’s host city, recognize superior reporting, design, editing, coverage, business practices and editorial leadership.
“I’m very proud of the staff because winning a Pacemaker demonstrates a keen level of consideration to all aspects of the operation,” said Dean Hume, who serves as the magazine’s advisor and as a Lakota East Journalism teacher.
“Plus, the judges look at the entire wealth of a year’s coverage – not just one issue of the paper.”
The publication also earned a First Place Best of Show Gold Cup in the “special coverage” category for its coverage of the new Driver Texting Laws in Ohio, as well as a Third Place Best of Show Honor in the “News magazine” category. According to Hume, this is the fifth consecutive year that Spark has earned at least one Best of Show Gold Cup.
Individual staff honors went to National Write-Off winners: Jeff Back for Superior Commentary writing, Sophia Li for Superior News writing, Natasha Rausch for Excellent Feature writing, John Grasty for Excellent Sports writing, Raika Casey for Excellent Broadcast commentary and to the team of Kaitlin Lange and Kyle Culp for Excellent In-Camera Broadcast Feature Story.
Back, Mandy Ellsworth and Irfon Ibrihim also earned Honorable Mention awards for Story of the Year, Photo of the Year and Design of The Year contest entries, respectively. East graduate and former Spark package editor Drew Souders, now a freshman at the University of Virginia, received a third-place trophy in the Story of the Year contest for his sports in-depth piece.