Boiling Point wins awards

Colleen Bazak, Staff Writer

Five Shalhevet students have been named finalists for Story of the Year by the National Scholastic Press Association, and the Boiling Point has also won recognition for its overall coverage throughout the 2009-10 school year.

Alumna Lexi Gelb ’10 and current students Zev Hurwitz, Jaclyn Kellner, Yonah Nimmer and Adam Ashkenazi were nominated together in the Multimedia Category for their coverage of Rabbi Weinbach’s resignation as head of school last spring.  Three stories appeared in the printed paper along with six stories and two videos on the BP website,

As finalists, the five are guaranteed to be awarded either first, second or third place or honorable mention when the awards are announced at the NSPA’s national convention next month in Kansas City.  In all, 30 stories have been nominated nationwide, in seven categories all together. The other categories are News, Editorial, Feature, Diversity and Sports.

“Judges selected finalists based on the value, importance or worth of story, quality of reporting, quotes, writing and editing, and credibility and leadership along with innovation in use of multimedia (audio, video, slide shows, graphics, etc.)” NSPA’s website stated. 

The paper entered competitions with two other organizations as well, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Journalism Society.  Both awarded the paper the highest possible ranking in judges’ critiques of the year’s work.  

Quill and Scroll gave the BP its International First Place Award, citing the paper’s “balance and fairness” and “awareness of issues and ideas outside of the school’s walls.”

“I have never seen such complete, unbiased, and thoughtful coverage of national and world events in a high school publication before,” said the judge, who under CSPA rules did not disclose his or her name. “…I found the story behind your identity and your experience this past school year to be invigorating and upulifting. You have a talented and dedicated newspaper staff that is doing great journalism — plain and simple.”

From CSPA, the paper earned a Gold Medal with All-Columbian Honors in Coverage and Business Practices. with the judge citing the paper’s “skillful, thoughtful work on localizing” national and international news and “sensitive, careful job on faculty and administrative changes and setbacks.”

Boiling Point advisor Mrs. Joelle Keene said the closing of the lower schools and the resignation of Rabbi Weinbach made last year challenging, but ironically provided opportunities to be recognized. 

“These awards reflect partly that we have a good paper and great students,” Mrs. Keene said. “But it’s also because we have had some unfortunate stories to write. I think the only good, positive story that we could get this award for is if Mashiach came.”

Meanwhile, the paper also learned belatedly of a national award won by former editor-in-chief Elana Eden ‘09.  Elana was awarded a Certificate of Merit in CSPA’s Crown Award competition for a story on the video game “Peacemaker,” a simulation of the Middle East conflict in which the goal is to make peace between virtual Israelis and Arabs.