BP wins gold medal from CSPA

Yonah Nimmer, 10th Grade and Jaclyn Kellner, Community Editor

The 2008-09 Boiling Point has been awarded a “Gold Medal” from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and last year’s editor-in-chief, Elana Eden, won one of just two George and Ophelia Gallup scholarships awarded nationally by Quill and Scroll, whose contests are judged by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

In another rating contest, last year’s paper also won “First Class with Three Marks of Distinction,” the second to highest honor awarded by the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA).

Elana, older sister of freshman Kalil Eden, is spending this year at Ben Gurion University in Israel before enrolling at NYU next fall.  She won $1,500 based on her 2009 winning entry in Quill and Scroll’s national newswriting contest, and a recommendation from BP advisor Mrs. Keene.The article was about her summer in the West Bank town of Kochav Yaakov.

“When I found out I won, I was afraid Mrs. Keene would read the entire article in Town Hall,” Elana said in an iChat interview from Israel.

“I don’t miss the deadlines [of working on The Boiling Point],” she added, “but recently Mrs. Keene sent me an article and it felt good when I edited it.”

Elana also won a national Story of the Year competition from the NSPA and two national awards from CSPA, all for news and editorial writing about Israel.

The Boiling Point has entered the CSPA contest for the past four years, winning a bronze and two silvers before the gold this year. No comments accompanied the certificate, but it is hanging proudly in the BP office in the Annex.

However, many comments accompanied the NSPA’s First Class rating of the paper.  Judge John Molene of Eden Prairie, Minn., praised the paper’s coverage overall and particularly its opinion writing.

“Extremely able leadership set forth in the editorial pages, and in reality, carried through the entire paper,” Mr. Molene wrote in granting a mark of distinction for Editorial Leadership. “The journalism here was spot on. Both stories and editorials seemed very accurate and responsible. The writers and editors clearly have the best interests of their school and their community at heart.”

Of the news writing, he wrote: “I was captivated by several stories…. Your rather unique position gives you a bit of an edge, as several stories you tackle would never see the light of day in other publications. Stories like the IDF piece in May were terrific, very well-written pieces.”

Of the paper’s opinion writing, he said, “All scholastic press should have editorial sections this good.”

Mrs. Keene said she doesn’t think winning contests is the most important thing the paper does, but she admitted she gets excited about it.

“I’m always surprised at how I physically react,” Mrs. Keene said. “Even things we’ve won several times now. I start shaking when I see the envelope in my mailbox.”