UHS newspaper honored again for quality

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published December 14, 2015


Utica High School’s student newspaper, Arrow, has hit its target for the second time in a row, qualifying for a Crown Award for excellence in journalism.

According to Stacy Smale, a teacher and Arrow adviser, students learned in November that they will be given a silver or gold Crown Award, which will happen March 16-18, 2016, during the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 92nd annual Spring Scholastic Convention in New York City.

Smale credited the UHS students for the accomplishment.

“The students spend a significant amount of time planning,” she said. “They really care about the content and what is going into the newspaper. … They really work together as a team to get it done.”

Smale said the judges picked 23 top high school student newspapers this year out of all the ones that submitted entries throughout the country. Every year, the organizers have no set criteria for how many honorees they have to pick, so they only decide on honoring what they feel is the best of the best, Smale said.

In order to qualify, UHS had to submit editions of its newspaper published throughout the last school year, Smale said. Judges who meet at Columbia University inspected the newspapers’ writing, content, design, photography and more.

Smale said Arrow writers plan to attend the New York ceremony in March to find out whether they earned a gold or a silver award. Although UHS earned a silver in 2015, she hopes that it can grab the gold this time.

“There is always a chance,” she said. “Some years they’ll choose two or three (gold winners). It’s not cut and dry — it’s just what they think is setting the standard.”

According to Smale, the CSPA has recognized Arrow twice following students’ redesign of the paper to a tabloid-style format in 2014. Students also handle the paper’s online edition and social media.

Smale said Arrow writers and editors work at least one class hour a day, and many will come back in for a second hour or will work during lunch or after school.

Arrow Editor-in-Chief Julia Vasquez, a UHS senior, said the staff takes pride in all of the stories they write, including a recent one on the presidential primary debates. Arrow covers a variety of topics, ranging from news to features.

“Everything that we cover outside of school, we link it back to school life, to how students can connect to it,” she said.

Vasquez called her position a “really big commitment,” adding that this is what she plans to do in the future.

“My vision for this year is to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” she said. “If anything, just try to step it up a notch.”

Read an online edition of Utica High School’s Arrow student newspaper by visiting uhsarrow.org. Learn more about Utica Community Schools by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.