12 schools to receive First Amendment Press Freedom Award

12 schools to receive First Amendment Press Freedom Award

A committee with representatives from the Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll International Honor Society chose 12 winners for the 2019 First Amendment Press Freedom Award.

The award recognizes public and private high schools that actively support, teach and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers, with an emphasis on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content.

As in previous years, schools competed for the title by first answering questionnaires submitted by an adviser and at least one editor; those who advanced to the next level were asked to provide responses from the principal and all media advisers and one student editor per student media. Media staffs also submitted their policies.

Winning applications showed strong support for the First Amendment.

2019 First Amendment Press Freedom Award winners are as follows:

  • The Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles
  • Blue Valley Northwest High School, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Chantilly (Va.) High School
  • Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco
  • Granite Bay (Calif.) High School
  • Kirkwood (Mo.) High School
  • McLean (Va.) High School
  • Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.
  • Mountlake Terrace (Wash.) High School
  • Reno (Nev.) High School
  • South Salem High School, Salem, Ore.
  • Whitney High School, Rocklin, Calif.

These schools will be honored April 25 at the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim.

Amy Pressly, principal at Blue Valley Northwest High School, wrote on her application, “Our student media is created and run by our students. The adviser is just there to provide guidance to the students. The student media publications are a great way for our students to have their voices and opinions heard. We very much believe in a democratic high school where everyone has a voice and everyone’s voice matters.”

This is the 20th year for the award. Kirkwood High School has won the award 18 times; Mountlake Terrace has received it eight times. Four schools are first-time recipients: Blue Valley Northwest, Granite Bay, Monta Vista and South Salem high schools.

First-round applications are due annually by early to mid-December. Downloadable applications for 2020 will be available on the JEA website in the fall. Please contact Lori Keekley, Scholastic Press Rights director, with any questions.

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