The Patriot receives national recognition


Photo courtesy Lifetouch Photos

Members of The Patriot staff pose with some of their awards for their yearbook picture. The staff recently was awarded with the NSPA’s 2017 Online Pacemaker Award, a Silver Crown from the CSPA, and several Gold Circle Awards.

The Patriot staff and some of its individual members recently received awards and recognition from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA).

On April 8, the staff received the 2017 Online Pacemaker Award from the NSPA, which is one of the most prestigious awards a student newspaper can receive. Although The Patriot has previously been declared an Online Pacemaker Finalist in 2010, this is the first time in JC history that a staff has been awarded with this honor.

According to the NSPA’s website, the newspapers are judged by professionals for “coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.” Thirty-eight schools were declared Online Pacemaker Finalists. However, only 17 schools of the 38 finalists were awarded the Pacemaker.

Senior Online Chief Grant Sharretts believes this award was a great validation for not only his but everyone’s hard work. “This year’s staff was really successful because of the dedication they put forth, whether it be writing stories, taking pictures, or any other thing. Everything was done to the best of their abilities,” Sharretts said.

In addition to the NSPA award, The Patriot won a Silver Crown from the CSPA on March 17 for the third consecutive year. This is the sixth time The Patriot has won a Crown Award. The Patriot was among 56 hybrid newspapers to receive a Crown for their work during the 2015-16 school year. A hybrid newspaper has both online and print editions of the publication.

Claire Grunewald, class of ’16 and former Print Editor in Chief, attributed the success of last year’s staff to the variety of personalities and overall dynamic of the group. Although she and Online Editor in Chief Kishan Patel, class of ’16, were secretly hoping for a Gold Crown, she couldn’t be more proud of what the staff accomplished last year. “A Silver Crown takes a lot of work and dedication from the whole staff, and it’s nice seeing everyone’s work being recognized on a national level,” Grunewald said.

Grunewald also received a Certificate of Merit from the CSPA Gold Circle Awards, a highly competitive national competition to honor student journalists for their excellence, for her photograph in the story  “Two Deputies Killed in Local Shooting.”

“Honestly, it’s just really cool to see that pieces I worked on in high school are being recognized,” Grunewald said. “It’s easy to push aside work you did in high school as trivial or sub-par, but I think it’s important to remember that you can do some pretty impressive things as a junior or senior.”

Senior Assignment Chief Grace Mottley received a Gold Circle Award and placed second for her Informational Graphic “Flex Program Expands.”

Beside Grunewald and Mottley, Patel was also honored with a Gold Circle Certificate of Merit for his Sports Writing in “Nigerian International Student’s One Shot at Success.”

Several staff members also received a Gold Circle Award in General Feature for “Faces of the Holocaust.” Contributors to the award-winning feature story included current senior Community Editor Pia Scotto and members of the class of ’16 former Perspectives Editor Will Bolton, former In-Focus Editor Katie Sullivan, Patel, and Grunewald.

Scotto, who wrote a feature on concentration camp liberator Sol Goldstein, knew the story was powerful but felt “extremely excited” and proud of the award. “With Sol’s recent passing, it was very sad since I was close with him, but knowing that his story was appreciated and even won an award meant a lot. It felt like a really nice tribute to him,” Scotto said.

Sharretts believes that the staff should be proud of their success. “If there’s something the staff should take away, it should be keep pushing for what you want because if you put in the work, you have a good chance of achieving your goals,” he said.

Caroline Cooney is the Editor in Chief of The Patriot and