2021 Yearbook Pacemaker finalists

NSPA names ‘best of the best’

Pacemaker competition recognizes
71 yearbooks finalists for excellence

Dec. 16, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — The nation’s top scholastic yearbooks were recognized today by National Scholastic Press Association, which announced 71 finalists in its annual Pacemaker competition.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” Executive Director Laura Widmer said. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

Pacemaker finalists will be honored and will receive plaques during the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Los Angeles.

Pacemaker winners will be announced for the first time at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the convention’s awards ceremony.

The NSPA Pacemaker, one of the oldest awards for scholastic journalism, has a rich tradition. The association started presenting the prestigious award to high school newspapers soon after the organization was founded in 1921. Throughout the years, yearbooks, magazines, online sites and broadcast programs were added to the competition. The organization is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

“The 2021 yearbooks were amazing considering they were produced during a pandemic and many of the staffs worked remotely the entire school year,” said Gary Lundgren, associate director and coordinator of the Pacemaker competition. 

“The judges were very sensitive to how the pandemic affected yearbook staffs and approached the judging with a great deal of empathy and compassion,” Lundgren said.

Two teams of three judges devoted three days to the judging and studied every entry, discussing its strengths. The status of each entry was agreed upon by at least two of the three judges. 

When the process was completed, 71 finalists were named representing the top 22 percent of all entries. In April, 32 yearbooks earn Pacemaker awards — representing the top 10 percent.

Of the 71 finalists, 13 are from junior/high and middle schools with 58 from high schools.

Yearbooks from 19 states earned Pacemaker-finalist status. Texas set the pace with 16 finalists, followed by Florida with 11, California with 10 and Colorado with eight.

Collegiate yearbook Pacemaker finalists will be announced by the Associated College Press, the NSPA collegiate organization, in January.

Written comments from the judges about each of the 32 Pacemaker-winning yearbooks will be shared in April as part of an NSPA Pacemaker Master Class. The webinar will include an interview with the judges, and a presentation showcasing the yearbooks will be available for download for classroom use. Selected Pacemaker-winning yearbooks will also be available for download for study and inspiration.  

NSPA awards ceremony

3:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 9, 2022

JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention

Westin Bonaventure
Los Angeles

Pacemaker Award winners for 2021 yearbooks, 2021 literary magazines and 2022 online will be announced at this ceremony, as well as winners in the convention’s NSPA’s Best of Show competition for the spring convention.

NSPA awards

Find past Pacemaker Award winners in the NSPA awards archive.

To celebrate its centenntial, NSPA compiled the Pacemaker 100 — its top 100 Pacemaker Award winners.


Junior high/middle school finalists

finalists listed by state

Oro
Cactus Canyon Junior High School
Apache Junction, Arizona
Editors: Anna Brownlee, Isabella Stewart, Ragan Stoltz
Adviser: Jason Davis

Ingenium
Greenfield Junior High School
Gilbert, Arizona
Editor: Avery Hull
Adviser: Jennifer Ann Parsons

The Round-Up
Woodland Junior High School
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Editor: Ruby Templeton
Adviser: Andrew Young

The Galleon
Peterson Middle School
Sunnyvale, California
Editor: Ana Matinpour
Adviser: Danielle Ash

Prowler
Pioneer Middle School
Tustin, California
Editors: Samantha Nguyen, JaeEun Park
Adviser: Lori Spiak

Lair
Drake Middle School
Arvada, Colorado
Editor: Kayla Grenwis
Adviser: Laurel Wicke

Crusader
Castle Rock Middle School
Castle Rock, Colorado
Editors: Sarah Breed, Elizabeth Homer
Adviser: Gina Claus

The Prowl
Powell Middle School
Littleton, Colorado
Editor: Keira Kou
Adviser: Yvette Manculich

Eagle Eye View
Sierra Middle School
Parker, Colorado
Editors: Ashlyn Burgess, Billie Fall, Abby Valverde
Adviser: Jed Palmer

Raider
Gulliver Preparatory School – Middle School Division
Miami, Florida
Editor: N/A
Adviser: Cori Basulto-Fraga

The Scrapbook
Westfield Middle School
Westfield, Indiana
Editors: Alyssa Pazdernik, Layla Ryan
Adviser: Allie Staub

The Vespa
Kealing Middle School
Austin, Texas
Editor: Adele Tversky
Advisers: Jenna Martin, Kristen Scott

Tiger Tracks
Katy Junior High School
Katy, Texas
Editors: Aubrey Elston, Reagan Evans, Lauryn Soeken
Adviser: Candice Thomas


High school finalists

finalists listed by state

Helios
Sunny Hills High School
Fullerton, California
Editors: June Kim, Anika Madan
Adviser: Lindsay Safe

Wingspan
James Enochs High School
Modesto, California
Editors: Analyn Do, Iain McCarthy, Omar Ortega, Emm Wagner
Adviser: Tamra McCarthy

The Pilot
Redondo Union High School
Redondo Beach, California
Editors: Amanda Ambrose, Meena Kabbani, Suji Kim, Chloe Rosenbaum
Adviser: Mitch Ziegler

Details
Whitney High School
Rocklin, California
Editors: Dylan de Valk, Chloe Prudhoe, Paulina Solorzano
Adviser: Sarah Nichols

Traditions
Del Norte High School
San Diego, California
Editors: Sydney Bourassa, Celine Cen, Esther Jin
Adviser: Robin Christopher

Talon
The Harker School
San Jose, California
Editors: Anoushka Buch, Shreya Srinivasan
Adviser: Ellen Austin

Cayuse
Walnut High School
Walnut, California
Editors: Edward Garcia, Annika Le, Sharon Tan, Kelvin Wong
Adviser: So Hee Tan

El Corazón
El Camino Real Charter High School
Woodland Hills, California
Editor: David Dablo
Adviser: Samantha Lasarow

Concordia
Regis Jesuit High School
Aurora, Colorado
Editors: Emma Ackerman, Abby Woodard
Adviser: Nicole Arduini

Summit
Smoky Hill High School
Aurora, Colorado
Editors: Taylor Hernandez, Christine Martin
Adviser: Carrie Faust

Reflections
Brighton High School
Brighton, Colorado
Editor: Jespyn Bishop
Adviser: Justin Daigle

Black & Gold
Rock Canyon High School
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Editors: Amanda Brauchler, Madeline Evans, Emma Sheldon
Adviser: Kristi Rathbun

Columbian
Columbia High School
Lake City, Florida
Editor: Caitlyn O’Sullivan
Adviser: Michael Malcom-Bjorklund

Raider
Gulliver Preparatory School – Upper School
Miami, Florida
Editors: Kimberley Cruz, Cindy Vega
Adviser: Monica Rodriguez

Odyssey
University High School
Orange City, Florida
Editors: Sydney Hansen, Chloe Evers
Adviser: Courtney Hanks

Legend
William R. Boone High School
Orlando, Florida
Editors: Catherine McCarthy, Brooke Evans
Adviser: Bridgette Norris

Fusion
Hagerty High School
Oviedo, Florida
Editor: Maggie Taylor
Adviser: Brit Taylor

Oviedian
Oviedo High School
Oviedo, Florida
Editors: Abbey Martin, Ella Pishko, Neri Verniani
Adviser: Alicia Pope

Renaissance
Suncoast High School
Riviera Beach, Florida
Editors: Julianna DeBock, Lucy de Greling
Adviser: Stephanie Russo

Panther
H.B. Plant High School
Tampa, Florida
Editors: Logan Black, Savannah Chalmers, Erin Moffitt
Adviser: Christina Porcelli

The Stampede
J.W. Mitchell High School
Trinity, Florida
Editors: Sophia Henges, Jillian Misemer
Adviser: Susan McNulty

The Marquee
Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts
West Palm Beach, Florida
Editors: Emma Kaminski, Isabella Ramirez
Adviser: Carly Gates

Etruscan
Glenbrook South High School
Glenview, Illinois
Editors: Mia Marchiori, Sasha Menchaca
Adviser: Brenda Field

Red & Black
Lawrence High School
Lawrence, Kansas
Editors: Sophia Kaufman, Kenna McNally
Adviser: Barbara Tholen

Horizon
Blue Valley Northwest High School
Overland Park, Kansas
Editors: Allison Dragoo, Ella Hutnick
Advisers: Jim McCrossen, Kim White

Indian
Shawnee Mission North High School
Overland Park, Kansas
Editors: Matthew Cunningham, Evan Whitaker
Adviser: Becky Tate

The Hauberk
Shawnee Mission East High School
Prairie Village, Kansas
Editors: Olivia Johnson, Katheryn Nachtigal, Aislinn Sullivan
Adviser: Dow Tate

The Lair
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Shawnee, Kansas
Editors: Maggie Dolinar, Teagan VanBlarcom
Adviser: Susan Massy

Pawesehi
Parkway West High School
Ballwin, Missouri
Editors: Maya Loy, Grace Kaempfe, Olivia Zerega, Maddie Brueggenjohann, Claire LeDuc, Lilly Francis
Adviser: Debra Klevens

Clamo
Clayton High School
Clayton, Missouri
Editor: Cavan Helmering
Adviser: Marci Pieper

The Howl
Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Las Vegas, Nevada
Editor: Alan Ong
Adviser: Matthew LaPorte

Tesserae
Corning-Painted Post High School
Corning, New York
Editors: Kaitlin Chung, Alivia Jiang, Charles Marshall
Advisers: Katie Paulison-Harris, Mike Simons

Westwind
West Henderson High School
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Editors: Max Decker, Haley Dunnigan, Helene Johnston
Adviser: Jason Livingston

The Torch
Athens Drive Magnet High School
Raleigh, North Carolina
Editors: Jacob McCarthy Adams, Sarah Thomas
Adviser: Elizabeth Luna

Twister
Casady School
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Editors: Madge Lister, Maddie Newcomb
Adviser: Bonnie Gerard

Sigma
Eastern Lebanon County High School
Myerstown, Pennsylvania
Editors: Lucy Bickel, Georgia Martin
Adviser: Jonathan Bickel

Legend
Wando High School
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Editors: Brynn Burke, Alexis Kramer, Olivia Potter
Adviser: Phillip Caston

Lion’s Roar
Christ Presbyterian Academy
Nashville, Tennessee
Editors: Caroline Avinger, Sylvie Keck
Adviser: Heather Nagel

Ledoian
Aledo High School
Aledo, Texas
Editors: Claire Kennedy, Ashlyn Vozeh
Adviser: Emily Pyeatt Arnold

The Knight
McCallum High School
Austin, Texas
Editors: Lindsey Plotkin, Hannah Zuniga
Advisers: Jena Weber, David Winter

Lone Star
James Bowie High School
Austin, Texas
Editors: Grace Conlan, Ryan Kinney
Adviser: Lindsey Shirack

The Lonestar
Vista Ridge High School
Cedar Park, Texas
Editors: Lainey Jones, Khushi Momin, Lycia Poh
Adviser: Jamie Ray

Kodiak
Bridgeland High School
Cypress, Texas
Editors: Madison Gunn, Cara Hudson
Adviser: Samantha Berry

Marksmen
St. Mark’s School of Texas
Dallas, Texas
Editor: Josh Mysore
Adviser: Ray Westbrook

Carillon
The Episcopal School of Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Editors: Charlotte Esping, Sophia Sinacola
Adviser: Ana Rosenthal

Reata
Memorial High School
Houston, Texas
Editors: Megan Benz, Sarah Beth Rother, Bailey Zhang
Adviser: Holly Hartman

The Arena
Legacy High School
Mansfield, Texas
Editor: Kristen Felan
Advisers: Rachel Dearinger, Leland Mallett

The Lion
McKinney High School
McKinney, Texas
Editor: Sydney Caldwell
Adviser: Alyssa Boehringer

Talon
John and Randolph Foster High School
Richmond, Texas
Editor: Edie Peffley
Adviser: Danielle Bell

Dragon
Round Rock High School
Round Rock, Texas
Editors: Anna Geppert, Bailey Williams
Adviser: Sharon Kubicek

The Hawk
Pleasant Grove High School
Texarkana, Texas
Editors: Katie Ferguson, Hailee Partin, Madilyn Morse
Adviser: Charla Harris

Tiger
Texas High School
Texarkana, Texas
Editors: Cayli Clack, Evelyn Patterson, Janie Rounds
Advisers: Rebecca Potter, Clint Smith

Techniques
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Alexandria, Virginia
Editors: Jessica Feng, Kritika Kumar, Marian Qian
Adviser: Erinn Harris

Genesis
Rock Ridge High School
Ashburn, Virginia
Editors: Paige Miller, Haley Priftis, Ellie Schubert, Jayden Thomas
Adviser: Michelle Menna

Crag
Turner Ashby High School
Bridgewater, Virginia
Editors: Jerica Blankenship, Harlee Pangle, Jennifer Roth
Adviser: Leslie Stevens

Saga
Loudoun Valley High School
Purcellville, Virginia
Editors: Charlotte Alto, Sarah Cohoon, Georgia Riccobene, Hayley Walker, Laurel Wedemeyer
Adviser: Martha Akers

Apollo
Colonial Forge High School
Stafford, Virginia
Editors: Nina Boligitz, Brian Guan, Marissa Hamlett, Grace Park
Adviser: Tiffany Kopcak

Pantera
Mead High School
Spokane, Washington
Editor: Jillian Holbrook
Adviser: Makena Busch