A press release from Huntley High School:
Huntley High School journalism students win nation’s top award
Huntley High School’s The Voice is proud to announce that in its first year on the Internet, the site was awarded the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker award in Seattle on Saturday.
The award, unofficially known as “the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism,” is the highest award in the country for setting the pace in the high school journalism world.
The Voice Online is headed by Michael Geheren, Editor in Chief, Joe Cristo, Managing Editor and Associate Editors: Holly Baldacci, Yazmin Dominguez and Kierra Renwick.
Geheren and Journalism Advisor, Dennis Brown C.J.E. flew Friday evening to Seattle for the NSPA Spring Conference to attend the award ceremony.
“I’m so proud of the work that Michael, the editors and the staff have done,” said Brown. “Truly an amazing achievement for all of them.”
Since its launch this year, The Voice has covered the death of a former student, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich’s campaign stop in Lake in the Hills, homecoming and many other community and district events.
“The staff members are the ones who made this happen,” said Geheren. “I just created an empty shell, they fill it in with compelling stories, major news, photos and other elements that make people want to read the site and made us a top contender for the Pacemaker.”
During the Blizzard in 2011, Geheren started creating a website without the authorization of Brown to prove that the staff could do it. The goals were to advance the journalism program at the high school in to the modern age to adicutly train students about the wave of journalism.
Throughout the summer, Brown developed a curriculum change and negotiated with the administration as to what was allowed in this uncharted territory.
In October the website launched with a full week of coverage devoted to homecoming. Once winter break hit Brown and Geheren restructured the class, adding a new editorial board for the website and a full redesign.
“It feels really good to be a part of a Pacemaker winning site,” said Dominguez.
“It feels like all your hard work and dedication paid off. Especially those nights when you spent all night trying to post an article and edit.”
Geheren and Brown fly back to Chicago with the plaques on Sunday.
“[The Pacemaker is] something that could not have happened without the support of principal Dave Johnson, the district and the Board of Education,” said Brown. “It’s truly an award that should be shared by District 158 as a whole.”
In addition, The Voice’s print edition and the Chieftain yearbook both received Golden Eagles on Friday at the Northern Illinois School Press Association annual conference at College of DuPage.
Huntley High School is located at 13719 Harmony Road, Huntley, IL 60142. For additional information, please contact Michael Geheren at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dennis Brown at email@example.com or at (847) 659-6600.