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‘Best of the High School Press’ Book to Feature Laguna Blanca’s Student Newspaper

The Fourth Estate also selected as a finalist for an Online Pacemaker award

By Tara Broucqsault for Laguna Blanca School |

Laguna Blanca School’s award-winning The Fourth Estate newspaper recently received national recognition from the National Scholastic Press Association.

The Twelve Cookies of Christmas by Laguna Blanca's Fourth Estate student newspaper will be featured in Best of the High School Press
“The Twelve Cookies of Christmas” by Laguna Blanca’s Fourth Estate student newspaper will be featured in Best of the High School Press. (Laguna Blanca School photo)

The NSPA was created in 1921 and supports student publications — yearbooks, newspapers, magazines, broadcast programs and online publications. The association provides prestigious contests and scholarships, and annually publishes a book, Best of the High School Press, which showcases the best student work from its member publications.

For the first time, one of the pages of The Fourth Estate is included in this coveted book.

“I purchase these books every year to inspire the staff,” journalism adviser Trish McHale said. “We’re always excited to see the Best of the Press. It is such an honor to have one of our pages included. It definitely sets the bar high for our staff.”

The page selected for publication, “The Twelve Cookies of Christmas,” depicts the 12 winning cookies and recipes from a friendly competition held between the staff of The Fourth Estate and the staff of La Honda, Laguna’s yearbook. Visiting eighth-grade parents were the judges.

“The winning cookie page was a wonderful collaboration between the newspaper staff, yearbook staff and the parents who were visiting that day,” said Director of Admissions Joyce Balak, who hosted a luncheon for the visiting parents. “It was quite an exciting event.”

Fourth Estate alumni Carolina Beltran, Lillie Hodges, Arabella Watters and Jordan Shannon are the creators of the page and the inspiration for the cookie competition.

The accolades for The Fourth Estate keep coming, too. Laguna’s newly launched online version of The Fourth Estate was selected as a finalist for an Online Pacemaker award, which recognizes the best high school publication websites. The 2012 contest yielded 159 entries, and 31 sites were chosen as finalists. Entries were judged holistically based on content, design, writing and editing, rich media and breaking news.

The winners will be announced at the spring JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle on April 14. Members of the Laguna newspaper staff will attend the convention.

The Fourth Estate website was created this year by online editors-in-chief Eli Bittleston and Eddie Conk, both juniors.

“My stomach sank and my heart was beating so quickly,” Conk said about finding out the paper was an Online Pacemaker finalist. “It was so nice to know that our hard work had finally paid off. We owe so much of our success to the rest of the Fourth Estate staff. I am so thankful to be part of this successful newspaper.”

— Tara Broucqsault is the director of communications for Laguna Blanca School.




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