For the fourth year in a row, the Mountlake Terrace High School’s student newspaper The Hawkeye has won the First Amendment Press Freedom Award from the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). The paper was given the award during an opening ceremony at a JEA/NSPA conference on Thursday night in Seattle.
The award recognizes “free and responsible student media that thrive at the school.” While members of the Hawkeye, it is also an accomplishment for the district and school administrators. Board Member Ann McMurray was also in attendance Thursday night to accept the award.
“It’s an award that is earned by having a community that believes in and values the principles of the First Amendment, a school administration that values and protects students rights, and thriving student media where students are in full control of editorial decisions,” Hawkeye teacher adviser Vince DeMiero said. “That starts at the community level, so this is as much an Edmonds School District award as it is an MTHS award or a Hawkeye award.”
The award was given to ten other schools from across the country.
“(I am) incredibly humbled, but also terribly sad that every public school in America isn’t a First Amendment Press Freedom Award winner,” DeMiero said.
Schools compete for the title by answering questionnaires submitted by an adviser and at least one editor. Publications that advanced to the next level were then asked to provide responses from the principal and all media advisers and student editors, indicating their support of the First Amendment. In addition, semifinalists submitted their printed policies.
Those who were selected showed a strong commitment to the First Amendment and student media.
Mountlake Terrace High School has won the award several times, and was among the first to win the award in 2000.