The Journalism Education Association will honor 10 former student-media advisers with its Lifetime Achievement Award Nov. 12 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Indianapolis.
JEA gives this award to retirees for lifetime dedication to journalism education.
Gil Chesterton of San Jose, California, advised all student media including a weekly newspaper, weekly broadcast and yearbook for 33 years at Beverly Hills (California) High School. He had previously advised at Whittier (California) High School. “He allowed us to run our publications, and when we needed him, he was always there — whether we knew we needed him or not,” said Gaby Herbst, nominator, former student and current Beverly Hills adviser.
Adrienne Hollifield, CJE, of Black Mountain, North Carolina, was adviser for Charles D. Owen High School and served as a board member and past president of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association. “Words can’t express what Mrs. Hollifield means to her journalism students. She has made such an impact on our lives, and we are all better people because of her,” former student Mary Withers Bates wrote.
Robert Kay of Libertyville, Illinois, devoted himself to student journalism at Grayslake High School District 127, spending 20 years as newspaper adviser and four years as yearbook adviser. In 2002 he was named Newspaper Adviser of the year by the Kettle Moraine Press Association. His students and newspaper publication received multiple awards at the local, state and national levels over the years, including six All-KEMPA awards for the newspaper during his tenure.
Beth Lail of Statesville, North Carolina, served as the newspaper adviser at Statesville High School before her retirement. She is former Teacher of the Year for her district and former president of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Advisers Association. She is also a recipient of NCSMA’s Kay Phillips Distinguished Service Award.
Rhonda Moore of Austin, Texas, advised student media for 29 years, the final 16 at McCallum High School in Austin. For 21 years, Moore also served as executive director of the Texas Association of Journalism Educators. Honors she has received include Interscholastic League Press Conference’s Max Haddick Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year and Edith Fox King Award, Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Key Award and Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s Distinguished Service Award.
Susan Newell, MJE, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, advised student media for more than 30 years in her home state including her final 12 years at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa. In addition, she serves as the JEA Alabama state director and formerly was Alabama’s lone representative on the SIPA executive board.
Mary Patrick, CJE, of Goddard, Kansas, was the first middle school adviser honored in the JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year program for her work at Maize South Middle School in Wichita, Kansas. The yearbook won numerous national Crown awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Pacemaker awards from National Scholastic Press Association during her career. She was named an NSPA Pioneer and was inducted into the Kansas Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame.
With a career highlighted by a CSPA Gold Key, NSPA Pioneer Award, and being named Dow Jones National Journalism teacher of the year in 2000, Robin Sawyer of Manteo, North Carolina, has recently retired from First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Most notably, Sawyer was the first high school journalism teacher ever selected to serve on the Dow Jones News Fund Foundation board.
George Taylor of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, advised at Tamaqua Area High School for 15 years and was the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Press Association for eight years. He also served as the editor of the Dow Jones Adviser Update for 22 years, from 1994 to 2016. Named the Dow Jones News Fund’s National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year in 1985, Taylor also received the CSPA Gold Key and NSPA Pioneer Award.
Stephen Wahlfeldt retired in May 2016 as newspaper adviser at Rocky Mountain High School, in Fort Collins, Colorado, completing 26 years in education. He came to the high school after several years as a professional journalist. His combination of real-life reporting experience, attention to detail, and his genuine love of students helped build one of the finest newspaper programs in the state. He was the Colorado Adviser of the Year in 2006. He now serves as a JEA mentor.
The Journalism Education Association is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. The nonprofit organization supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities and by promoting professionalism in student media education and advising.