Braden River High School journalism students and teacher win national prize

Braden River journalism students, teacher win national award

eearl@bradenton.comApril 30, 2013 

— MANATEE -- Braden River High School was one of 50 schools out of thousands of high school and college entrants to earn a first-place award from the American Scholastic Press Association in a recent national competition.

Journalism teacher and adviser Jillian Bieber said her students work hard on their publication, The Spyglass.

"It is incredible to be recognized nationally," Bieber said.

The journalism students also brought in a silver award at the state level.

Thomas Reese and Enriqueta Balandra, The Spyglass editor-in-chief and assistant editor, respectively, said they keep readership up with topics intriguing to students.

Last semester, Kelsey Lutzi and Katie Cafiero, the life and features editor and assistant editor, respectively, had press passes for backstage access to 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball, where they interviewed celebrities such as One Republic, Ke$ha and Justin Bieber (no relation to the journalism adviser).

Such interviews help Braden River journalism students keep the Spyglass trendy and hard-hitting. Excellence in layout and design, story quality and photography also impressed the American Scholastic Press Association.

The Spyglass also contains an opinion and editorial page, a how-to column and a student spotlight column.

Lutzi, who will take the reins as editor-in-chief next year, also runs a book

review called Kelsey's Korner.

Journalism students attended a Florida Scholastic Press Association conference last week in Orlando, which featured guest speakers and breakout sessions about newspaper and broadcast journalism, photography, public relations and literary magazines. The conference gave students an opportunity to network and was also a time for acknowledging teachers.

Bieber won the district journalism Teacher of the Year award for Manatee County. She was the Florida Scholastic Press Association director for District Five last year.

Bieber works with students to make sure the Spyglass is timely. The paper appears on the school's website, and soon will have a Twitter page.

Students will receive a full critique of the Spyglass from the press association via snail mail along with their award certificate.

Bieber and the student editorial staff hope to achieve even higher status next year.

"We want to try to get first place with special merit next year, improve our design and maintain the integrity of the program," Bieber said.

The Spyglass has 40 student staff members. Bieber's application process for students requires three teacher recommendations, writing and photography samples and a grade of at least 85 percent in English.

"I want students to be passionate and care about what is going into the paper," Bieber said.

Reese, supervising the final issue of his senior year, said he's been ardent about putting out a strong publication.

"This has not been just another class period for us," Reese said. "It's a hobby."

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service