2021 Yearbook Pacemakers

NSPA names ‘best of the best’

Pacemaker competition recognizes
32 yearbooks for excellence

April 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Honoring the nation’s best, National Scholastic Press Association named 32 scholastic yearbooks as prestigious Pacemaker winners.

The yearbook winners, plus the 2022 Innovation Pacemaker, 2021 Literary Arts Magazine Pacemaker and 2022 Online Pacemaker winners, were announced for the first time during the closing awards ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention on April 9, in Los Angeles.

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

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. Judges did not see their own yearbooks or hear discussion about the books.

The judges, from six states, served on two rotating teams. All six have advised Pacemaker-winning publications:

Martha Akers, Virginia
Justin Daigle, Colorado
John Horvath, Texas
Debra Klevens, Missouri
Sarah Nichols, California
Britton Taylor, Florida

When the process was completed, 71 Yearbook Pacemaker finalists were named in December representing the top 22 percent of all entries. 

The 32 yearbooks-winning yearbooks represent the top 10 percent. There are three junior/high and middle school winners and 29 high schools.

Yearbooks from 11 states earned Pacemaker awards. Texas set the pace with 10 winners followed by Kansas and Florida with four winners each.

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

Best of Show
Spring National High School Journalism Convention
Los Angeles
April 9, 2022

Junior high/middle school winners

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

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

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

High school winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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