2023 Wikoff Scholarship

NSPA announces 2023 Wikoff Scholarship recipient

Elle Rotter, Parkway West High School,
earns $1,000 for outstanding editorial leadership

June 16, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS — Elizabeth “Elle” Rotter, of Parkway West High School, Ballwin, Missouri, has been selected as the 2023 winner of the $1,000 Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership from National Scholastic Press Association.

The national scholarship includes a $1,000 award given to a high school senior on the staff of an NSPA-member newspaper/newsmagazine or website with a minimum 3.5 grade point on a 4.0 scale or equivalent. 

Wally Wikoff, the scholarship namesake, was NSPA executive director in the 1970s. NSPA has offered the Wally Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership since 1998.

Rotter was a four-year member of PWestPathfinder, the school’s news website. She served as deputy conceptual editor-in-chief her senior year.

During her four years on staff, Rotter has never settled for less than excellence. 

“Her stories focused heavily on educating our conservative community about how their words matter, microaggressions, destigmatizing mental health, how we can support the LGBTQ+ community and pronouns and name changes. She made having difficult conversations a part of our everyday culture at Parkway West, ” adviser Debra Klevens said.

In addition to excelling in her writing, Rotter also displayed exemplary performance in leadership. 

“She checks in with staffers weekly to see what they are struggling with and how she can help or make arrangements for them to meet with their peers. Her impact in the classroom has all 30 staffers on track to meet their semester deadline. This is unheard of,” Klevens said.

Outside of journalism her creativity and sense of community also shine through her relentless volunteering at the district’s food bank. 

“Elle Rotter is a force to be reckoned with,” Klevens said.

NSPA, the nation’s largest association of scholastic media, provides training and recognition of achievement to high school and middle school journalists. It serves hundreds of students and their advisers with two national conventions each year. NSPA’s renowned Pacemaker Awards honor the top scholastic newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, websites and broadcasts, and its individual awards celebrate student work through dozens of specific categories.