Celebrate good times

Newspaper and yearbook staffs earn national honors for their work

The newspaper staff earned 10th place in National Scholastic Press Association’s Best of Show competition.

Kendall Westgate, Editor-in-Chief

Despite the stress happening throughout the world with COVID-19, the newspaper and yearbook staffs celebrate a big milestone with national honors.

“In this time of a world-wide pandemic and school closures, these awards and recognition brought a little bit of sunshine on somewhat gloomy days; and maybe even a little more normalcy as we came together in Zoom calls and in Whatsapp groups to celebrate,” newspaper and yearbook adviser Erica Kincannon said. “I’m so proud of all three of these firsts in school history moments our journalists earn.”

For the first time in school history, the newspaper staff earned a Silver Crown award in Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Crown awards for their print news and website, ikenews.com. They were one of 56 high school hybrid publications in the nation to earn this award; hybrid refers to a combination print and web media. The staff also earned 10th place in National Scholastic Press Association’s Best in Show competition for their February print issue; the publication was one of 10 in the national recognized. 

“When I found out about the two awards my staff and I won, I was over the moon,” junior newspaper Editor-in-Chief Kendall Westgate said. “It feels so good to work for an award-winning publication and I’m so proud of everyone who contributed.”

The yearbook staff added to the publications’ staffs national recognition. Senior yearbook Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Putnam and senior former yearbook staff member Madelyn Bongiorno placed first in academic writing in Columbia’s Scholastic Press Association’s (CSPA) Gold Circle national individual competition. They placed first among about a 1000 other entries, which was also the first time in the school’s history yearbook staff members earned first in a CSPA writing category.

“I’ve never really won any awards for anything I’ve done personally, so it was really cool to have that sort of validation that the work that I was doing was good and award worthy,” Putnam said. “Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, so it’s really cool that others can enjoy the thing I’m passionate about doing.”

Throughout the past 13 years, both publications built up their reputations as award winning staffs with accolades and recognitions from NSPA, CSPA, Quill and Scroll national journalism honor society and Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. Despite the fact that awards are being presented virtually through social media, conferences calls, Zoom and Google hangouts, they still hold prestige for the journalists, adviser and school community.  

“As principal, it fills me with overwhelming pride to see all of the amazing accomplishments of our students. Eisenhower’s yearbook and newspaper are top notch and well deserving of the accolades coming their way,” principal Jared McEvoy said. “There is a whole lot of hard work and dedication there and I congratulate Mrs. Kincannon and our students for their achievements. I’m so very proud to be an Eagle.”