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Hitting the trifecta: Fredonia High Spectator wins best newspaper for third year

New York Press Association award winners include, in front from left: Jack Forster, Tess Corell and Williams Prevet. In back are Dominic Gullo, Adrianna Pucci, Mackenzie Abbey, Gracie Wdowiacz and Josephine Tomaszewski. The SPECTATOR received the best high school newspaper award for the third consecutive year. Not pictured are Julia LeBaron and Lauren Marshall.

For the third year in a row, Fredonia High School’s student newspaper, Spectator, was named the “Best High School Newspaper in New York State” by the New York Press Association (NYPA).

“Receiving this award three years in a row means a lot to this school and our community. We have all worked so hard and everyone on this staff deserves this,” assistant editor Adrianna Pucci 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. The paper earned 95 points for the issues from the 2020 year that were submitted for judging.

“I am always surprised and humbled when we receive recognition for the paper because I do know that it is competitive and do not take anything for granted. I am also very proud because I know how hard our staff works to create a quality publication and they deserve any awards they receive,” co-adviser Lisa Reinhardt said.

The judging summary stated, “The Spectator does a great job of serving its readers, with a publication that is creative, topical, local, well-designed and well-written. Kudos!”

The paper’s individual awards included first place for Best Use of Social Media, second place in General Excellence and third place for Design.

Lauren Marshall earned first place in the Best Sports Story category.

The judging commentary said, “The writer is commended for crafting a highly readable and newsworthy story notable for its writing and overall construction.”

Julia LeBaron and Gracie Wdowiasz received honorable mention in sports. The paper also received a special commendation to the sports staff for multiple high-quality submissions.

Placing first for their column “Random Polls” were Jack Forster and Williams Prevet.

“It is a true honor to have your work recognized as the best in the whole state. It’s great validation for all the work that the staff, Jack and I put into this publication. I’m so glad I joined the paper last year, and this is just the icing on the cake,” Prevet said.

In the feature category, Josephine Tomaszewski took second place.

“This article does the incredibly important job of localizing climate change. By describing how the warming of the planet will affect her community, Josephine Tomaszewski does what journalists around the world are struggling to do. She even notes the impact on wine and maple syrup production in her region,” the judges wrote.

Mackenzie Abbey received second place for photography.

“It makes me feel accomplished, and gives me faith in myself that I have the potential to do good things for the world,” Abbey said.

“It is great to work with students who earn state-wide recognition for their accomplishments. As advisers, Mrs. Reinhardt and I see the effort and talents of the staff, yet it is always surprising and exciting when awards roll in. We never take it for granted,” co-adviser Dadie Sedota said.

Sedota is the former adviser of The Brocton Review, which won the best newspaper award in previous years.

“It is important to note that every single staff member contributes to these awards. As with a football team, every single play matters and while the quarterback or running back may get a lot of attention, the team could not win without all players working together,” Sedota said.

The newspaper staff includes more than 50 students. Issues are published online at the Fredonia High School Facebook page and printed in the school print shop. The Spectator editorial board includes Corell, Forster, Prevet, Pucci, Tomaszewski, Dominic Gullo, Oliver McAfee, Rebecca Lash, Joey Gullo, Madison Marsh, Alex Weiss, Allie Cook, Arianna Huber, Angelina May, Francesca Woolson, William Rose, Grayson Osborne-Coy, Emma Munsch, Seth Putnam, Abigail Joy and Raena Beckley.

Corell said,“I am honored to be a part of the staff as we all come together and work hard to publish the best we can. It is amazing the hard work you see every person put into every article and/or graphics and pictures. Every single person is important on our staff. It is like a team effort. I am so proud of what we have accomplished in these past years.”

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