Friday, Nov. 23, 2012
Student newspaper wins Pacemaker
Raymore-Peculiar middle school honored at national journalism convention
By Bethany Bashioum
The Raymore-Peculiar East Middle School newspaper has earned one of the most coveted prizes in student journalism.
The East Edge, published 6-8 times a year, earned the 2012 National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker Award in the junior high/middle school newspaper category.
According to district officials, this is the first time the award has been won in the Raymore-Peculiar School District. The announcement was made Nov. 17 in San Antonio.
Judging was based on last year’s publications, in which Jeana Scott, Caleb Daniels, Guin Wright and Austin Meiron served as editors during the 2011-12 school year.
The students are now freshmen at Raymore-Peculiar High School.
John VanPelt serves as the faculty adviser of The East Edge, in addition to teaching seventh grade Mass Media, and eighth grade Newspaper Production and Yearbook Production.
VanPelt, Scott, Daniels, and another former East Edge staff member, Corina Buechler, accepted the award while attending the NSPA National High School Journalism Convention with the high school’s newspaper staff.
“The kids all screamed and hollered, and I felt like crying,” said VanPelt, of the awards ceremony. “I was very humbled and proud at the same time. I think it is a wonderful testament to our kid’s ability and determination to be the best they can be. We’re only going to get stronger.”
The Pacemaker Award, a top prize in the realm of student media, is awarded annually to the top student-produced yearbooks, newspapers, magazines and websites, at the middle school, high school and college levels in the nation.
VanPelt learned of the nomination in September.
The other newspaper receiving a nomination was The Town Crier of Paul Revere Charter Middle School in Los Angeles.
Formally a newspaper reporter and editor, VanPelt is passionate for helping his students understand the vital role newspapers still have.
“With all the information that is bombarding students nowadays,” said VanPelt, in September, “I think it is very important that they understand how a newspaper can serve a vital purpose of being a filter for what matters and what doesn’t.”