Martha’s Vineyard student newspaper wins journalism awards

For the sixth consecutive year, the New England Scholastic Press Association (NESPA) awarded its Highest Achievement Award in Scholastic Editing and Publishing to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s student journalists.

“I was really happy for all of us, and honored that we won this award — but I was not surprised, especially when I think about all the students who worked hard to produce our newspaper every week,” Kira Shipway, a senior and co-editor in chief. “They are all so smart and amazing. Amazing.”

NESPA presented the award, along with several individual awards to Vineyard students at its annual convention held May 6 at Boston University. NESPA executive director Helen Smith presented the “Highest Achievement Award in Scholastic Editing and Publishing” in Division III to the six student journalists who had traveled to Boston from the Vineyard to attend the conference and awards ceremony. The honor acknowledged the excellence of the entire collection of newspapers published during the 2010-2011 school year and all of the student journalists who produced them.

And, for the first time in the school’s history, the journalism website, created by senior Hudson Klebs, also earned the “Highest Achievement Award” for its online presence.

In addition to these two awards, five students received “Special Achievement” Awards for excellence in scholastic journalism. This accomplishment is all the more remarkable considering the fact that out of the 1,300 submissions from all schools, only 181 total awards were given — and our students received seven of them. Junior Anna Yukevich won for her bylined column, “On in-school sleep walking”; junior EmmaJean Holley won for a news story, “Teens honored in Boston,” and for her feature story, “Eat, prepare, love”; senior Hudson Klebs won for his online interactive graphics and newspaper website; senior Mary-Louise Howell earned two awards in the artwork/cartoon/illustration category; and senior Tova Katzman won for her feature photo, “Mural.”

The total number of journalism awards, nine, has been surpassed only twice since the High School View began publishing in the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1987.

“The Times has published the High School View for nearly as long as the newspaper has been in business. Doing so has been as rewarding an experience for us, and we hope for the student journalists, as we might have wished. The key to its success is the View’s visibility to all members of the community, not merely to the students, the faculty, the parents, but also to the voters, taxpayers, and residents at large. It helps knit together students and their community. We’re proud to be a part of the View’s success,” said The Times editor this week.

“It’s awesome for all the students who work on the paper,” said photography editor Tova Katzman, “to be recognized for our accomplishments. Sometimes I think people don’t really notice us in our little office working late into the night writing and pasting up the paper. We’re sort of hidden away. So this recognition is especially satisfying.”

The High School View is published weekly during the school year as a page in The Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Regional high school English department chair, Dan Sharkovitz, is the newspaper’s faculty adviser.