The Dispatch

Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association convention in Chicago

Rachel Baschnagel, Dispatch Reporter

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Awards upon honors upon recognitions. That is what awaited Bowie journalism on their most recent trip to Chicago for the biannual Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association (JEA/NSPA) convention in Chicago.

The weekend of Nov. 3 was filled with award ceremonies while students from both the Dispatch newspaper and the Lone Star yearbook staff attended the convention, which lasted three days. Several educational sessions were offered, as well as on-site competitions for students to enter. Six out of seven Bowie students that participated in these events earned various recognitions.

Not only did individuals win awards at the JEA/NSPA convention; so did the publications themselves. The Dispatch won a Pacemaker, an award comparable to a Pulitzer Prize for scholastic publications that a mere 28 newspapers across the country in four size/format categories received. This was the first time since 1994 that a Bowie publication has earned this honor.

“We were the second to last school to be called for a Pacemaker, so at that point, I had lost all hope,” Editor-in-Chief Cianna Chairez said. “I definitely didn’t think we were gonna get one, just because it was our first nomination, and it’s definitely hard to tell with these kinds of things. But once they called our name, it was adrenaline and validation for all the hard work that we’ve been doing.”

The Dispatch also sent its second publication of this year for judging, and for the second straight year, received Second Place Best in Show. This addition continues the Dispatch’s five convention run of Best in Show awards.

“They say that this convention was one of the largest ones,” Chairez said. “There were about six thousand kids there, which means that our paper beat even more people than it did last year, which just validates us even more.”

Two former Dispatch staff members also won awards for their previous work. Former Dispatch Editor-In-Chief Violet Glenewinkel (2018 graduate) was named Writer of the Year for the In-Depth double pages she created for the newspaper in 2017-18. This distinction designates her as the best writer in the United States at the scholastic level, but Glenewinkel’s reaction upon hearing her name differed from those around her.

“My mother screamed and shook me, Reeves yelled and patted me on the back, and both of the newspaper and yearbook staff members that attended Chicago cheered,” Glenewinkel said. “I become very uncomfortable when attention is put onto me or when compliments are thrown at me, so I think part of that experience was me just shaking my head and thinking it wasn’t a big deal.”

However, Glenewinkel stated that the extent of the honor slowly dawned on her.

“It was an extremely surreal moment,” Glenewinkel said. “I didn’t understand the scope of this award or what it really meant in the moment, but after a few hours of my mother contacting everyone in my family to give them the news and getting to really sit with that award beside me, I realized it was pretty cool and a pretty big deal.”

2018 graduate Mia Barbosa placed in the top-10 nationally with her honorable mention for Single Page Design. Senior Mia Moore was deemed Superior in the student life copy and captions category in on-site competition, the highest award for the school for those events at the convention.

“They announce Honorable Mention first, and then Excellent, and I didn’t hear my name called for either of them, so my stomach dropped because I thought it meant I hadn’t placed at all,” Moore said. “But then they called my name for Superior and I just got this huge adrenaline rush, and when I walked up to accept my award, my legs were all shaky and I couldn’t stop smiling. I really did not expect it at all.”

Three Dispatch and the Lone Star staff members earned Excellent designations. Seniors Sam Blas, Emily Breach, and Chairez won Excellent in sports writing, academics copy and captions, and news writing, respectively.

“I scored mostly fours and threes, which is actually really good,” Blas said. “I was kind of nervous going into the competition and writing, and actually going to the awards ceremony, but when I saw that I scored really well on the grade sheet, I knew that I was going to win at least an honorable mention. Right after I won the award and went up to go get the paper, I called my parents to show off.”

Bowie students brought home Honorable Mentions in two different categories. Senior Abby Ong received hers for feature writing, while senior Sophie Bega’s was the first award Bowie has ever won in the yearbook cover and endsheets division.

“Since I’m an Editor-In-Chief, I felt obligated to do a design contest instead of a normal writing one,” Bega said. “I really wanted to prove to myself and my staff that I could design something and be awarded nationally.

While it is yet to be determined whether the Lone Star yearbook is in the running for a pacemaker, it has been announced as a 2019 Crown Finalist from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. In contrast of past years, the Lone Star was judged as a hybrid instead of a solely print production due to the staff’s incorporation of Aurasma videos.

“Bowie has a strong tradition of being Crown Finalists, so coming in, that was a priority for staff to maintain that high level,” yearbook advisor Lindsey Shirack said. “So it’s exciting to still be considered among the top books in the country.”

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Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association convention in Chicago