Fredonia High School newspaper takes top honors in state event


Fredonia High School’s student newspaper, Spectator, was named the “Best High School Newspaper in New York State” at the New York Press Association conference in Albany earlier this month.

Six student editors traveled to Albany with co-adviser Lisa Reinhardt and principal Darrin Paschke to accept awards at the conference.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our students. They were able to attend workshops at the Hilton and interact with journalists from across New York as guests of the NYPA,” co-adviser Reinhardt said.

Each year, the NYPA selects one high school and one college newspaper, based on points earned in a variety of categories. The paper with the highest points wins the top award. Judges from press associations outside of New York are used for objectivity. This year, the Wisconsin Press Association judged the entries, which included city and village newspapers across the state. Issues from the 2018 year were submitted for judging.

The judging summary stated, “The newspaper earned 75 points. Great writing, strong bold graphics with nice mix of articles, stories, art, photos, illustrations, clean fonts. All create a great feel.”

From left are staff editors Aurora Merwin, Mackenzie Quinn, Lindsay Lotter, Gabe Persch, Oliver Madariaga and Finn Frerichs.

The paper’s individual awards included recognition in general excellence, design and web site. Melinda Waag earned first place in the Best Sports Story category. Gracie Morrison won third place and Jamison Horch an honorable mention in sports.

In the feature category, Alexis Schroeder and Nathan Shuart placed third. “I am honored to be recognized for the time, energy and effort I put into my writing. It’s such a good feeling,” Schroeder said.

Shuart added, “It feels great to be a part of a top newspaper. A lot of hard work is put into it and it feels good to be around and get help from a great group of hard-working individuals.”

Victoria Hennessey received two photography awards, second and third place.

Placing second for his column “Gullos’s grumblings III” was Dominic Gullo. “It is a true team effort from top to bottom,” he said.

Staff members of the Spectator.

According to co-adviser Dadie Sedota, this is the first time the Fredonia paper won the top award at NYPA, although it has received individual awards in past years. Sedota is the former adviser of The Brocton Review, which won the best newspaper award in previous years.

The Brocton paper won six awards in this year’s judging. Other winners in individual categories included Chaminade, G. W. Hewlett, Commack and Kellenberg high schools. Ithaca College’s student newspaper was named best of college entries.

“Students in both Chautauqua County schools can be proud of their success, ranking among the top in the state. Students learn from the feedback and critiques that the NYPA offers,” Sedota said.

Spectator co-editors Gabe Persch and Lindsay Lotter accepted the awards, along with Aurora Merwin (copy editor), Mackenzie Quinn (managing editor), Finn Frerichs (graphics editor) and Oliver Madariaga (layout and business manager).

The newspaper staff includes more than 60 students. Issues are published online at the Fredonia High School web site and printed in the school print shop.

Staff members of the Spectator.

Paschke said, “I could not be more proud of our students who work on the Spectator newspaper or of the advisers who facilitate and model responsible journalism for our school community.”


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