Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Phone: (212) 854-9400
CSPA is affiliated with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Six Gold Keys presented in 2008
Five scholastic and one professional recipients honored for their contributions to CSPA
With the Gold Key, CSPA recognizes educators and members of the professional press primarily for their service to the Association. Through their contributions to CSPA, Gold Key recipients have demonstrated their support for excellence in teaching journalism and in advising student publications.
Col. Joseph Murphy began the tradition of awarding Gold Keys in 1929, more than 75 years ago, shortly after the Association was founded in 1925.
The Gold Key Award citations state:
"In recognition of the outstanding devotion to the cause of the school press, encouragement to the student editors in their several endeavors, service above and beyond the call of delegated duty, leadership in the field of education, and support of the high ideals from which the Association has drawn its strength and inspiration."
Gold Keys were presented to their recipients during a special Adviser Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 21, 2008 at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Kathleen Zwiebel, immediate past president of the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association and chair of the CSPAA’s Honors Committee, read the citations for each recipient while Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the CSPA, presented the award to each recipient.
The luncheon was part of CSPA’s 84th annual Scholastic Convention held from March 19-21, 2008 at Columbia University in the City of New York.
The following are the citations for the Gold Key awards, presented on March 21, 2008 at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Each citation was written and presented by Kathleen D. Zwiebel, publications adviser at Pottsville Area High School (Pottsville, PA) and immediate past president of the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association.
Gary grew up watching Woodward and Bernstein dismantle the Watergate cover-up. As he recognized that these were journalists in the trenches, fighting for the truth, he saw them as the real heroes. Gary was hooked. He worked on his high school paper and became an investigative reporter at West Virginia University. He now has twenty years teaching high school journalism and has served as president of the Maryland Scholastic Press Association for the past 10 years. He writes a technology column for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund’s publication, Adviser Update.
Richard Holden, the executive director of the fund, wrote, “To call me a Luddite when it comes to technology would be an insult to Luddites everywhere. Yet I’ve never had difficulty reading or understanding his column. He’s adept at taking technical issues and writing about them in a way that makes them clear and understandable. That’s an art not many writers have.”
One of Gary’s students wrote, “The first day I met Mr. Clites at school I noticed there was something about him that was different from the rest of my teachers. He never stopped smiling and talked to us person-to-person rather than teacher-to-student.”
Another former student, Kenna Lowe, the associate director for Communications and Marketing at Johns Hopkins University, said, “One of my favorite memories of Mr. Clites is when he would stand in front of the newspaper staff and say rather loudly, “Put the stinking copy in the stinking computers. We are on deadline people!”
Gary sees journalism as empowering. He wrote, “It is a tool that allows young people to find out who they really are, what they can really do and what their place is in the world. Journalism helps young people discover depths in their characters they never considered might be there, and it allows them to share those depths with the world. Journalism has helped me to understand that working with one student in one school on the Chesapeake Bay can be just as important to the world as anything that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did in bringing down a corrupt administration. Student journalists represent the future of the First Amendment and, thus, the future of our nation.”
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association takes great pride in honoring Gary Clites with its Gold Key.
Jim teaches responsible journalism. He wrote, “I always ask ‘how would you feel if these things were written about you?’ However, if the subject of the story is guilty of some wrongdoing, then report it, but come with facts in hand. All of my journalism classes discuss ethics as a major component and it is the most important thing my students learn. Many times there are no clear-cut answers but I provide numerous examples for them to discuss the issues. I do not give the outcome until we have looked at both sides and then see if they were correct in their evaluation or not. Seeing the sparkle in their eyes and the look on their faces when they “get it” is one of the many reasons I love being a journalism teacher and adviser.
Jack Kennedy, president of the Journalism Education Association, wrote “Jim McGonnell not only represents all that is good about newspaper advising, he also represents all of us in the trenches with integrity, humor and knowledge.
A former student of McGonnell’s, Nabil Shaheen, best explains Jim’s success as a teacher.
He wrote, “From figuring out New York’s subway system to counting headlines to maximizing the amount of mocha in gas station cappuccinos, Mr. McGonnell was more than just a teacher. That’s what separates the journalism advisers from the rest. No other teacher at Findlay High School spent as much time with me, knew as much about me or demanded as much out of me. As we prepared to graduate in 1999, Mr. McGonnell joked that rarely do students of his become journalists because a lot of them became teachers. What he may not have realized is they all wanted to become teachers and wanted to be someone else’s Mr. McGonnell. They hoped to have the same impact that he had on them.
We are so proud to have a person like Jim McGonnell in scholastic journalism and to present the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Key to him.
Jeanne Acton, Interscholastic League Press Conference Director, wrote, “Not only does Rhonda exemplify all of the qualities of an incredible high school journalism teacher, but she also works behind the scenes night and day to promote scholastic journalism in the state and in the nation.
When Rhonda was named the Max R. Haddick Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas, her nominator wrote, “She is the epitome of everything a scholastic journalism teacher and adviser should be. She is passionate about her job, ethical in her treatment of both people and words, and has the strongest work ethic of almost anybody I know. She pays great attention to detail and is unwilling to settle for anything less than perfection.”
Rhonda loves being a publications adviser. She said, “Nothing is more gratifying than to watch a shy, quiet student enter one’s classroom as a freshman; and then leave that classroom four years later as a leader able to speak his or her mind with confidence.”
Bobby Hawthorne added, “Her publications are consistently first rate, and her relations with fellow teachers and administrators at McCallum provide an excellent role model for young advisers. She is beloved by her students and respected by her peers. She consistently earns the trust and respect of other teachers, administrators and school board members who appreciate her professionalism and maturity. They appreciate how she evokes in her students the highest level of professionalism. Rhonda not only talks the talk, she walks the walk.”
CSPA honors Rhonda Moore with its Gold Key for her many years of service to the profession.
A journalism teacher at Grosse Pointe High School for 14 years, Jeff advises the national award winning weekly newspaper, The Tower. He speaks at workshops across the country, judges for state and national press associations, writes for several journalism magazines and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Distinguished Adviser in 1999.
Kevin Bargnes, a newspaper editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison talked about having Jeff as a teacher, “Beyond offering us freedom he continuously pushed us to be better writers and editors. He questioned the editorial board when he felt our decisions weren’t entirely thought out. He demanded more sources if a story was lacking substance. He always had high standards for our design staff and expected pages to be finished as early as humanly possible. My professional and personal recommendation is not enough for the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
C. Suzanne Klein, the Grosse Pointe Superintendent, wrote, “The mark of an outstanding teacher is revealed in the achievements of his students, the level of challenge they are willing to undertake individually, and as a staff, as well as the high standards to which they hold themselves accountable long after they leave his classroom. This legacy is built day by day by the skillfulness of a teacher who understands both the art and the science of teaching. Jeff Nardone is one of those truly outstanding teachers because he is able to do just that.”
Jeff relates his teaching philosophy to that of the educational psychologist William Glasser who said we all have a need for fun. Jeff wrote that, “To tell you the truth Glasser had me when he said we had a need for fun in life, and in the classroom. Having fun isn’t always possible; working on a newspaper can be stressful, and students in my school are often spread thin between AP classes, sports and other outside activities. But I always try to bring a little fun to their days. Just about every day that I leave my classroom after teaching journalism, it feel like I’ve accomplished something special in my life. I’ve also helped a group of students share in that experience. Teaching journalism is the most exciting way I could spend my day.”
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association proudly bestows its Gold Key on Jeff Nardone.
He has established a nationally recognized journalism program with an award winning daily newspaper.
Helen F. Smith, executive director of the New England Press Association, wrote, “When Mr. Proudfoot began teaching in Westport in 1985, the paper came out every three weeks. In 1995, the staff bought a press and began coming out every two weeks. In 1996 the paper became a weekly, truly an inspiration. Now it is a daily in print with the students doing the presswork.”
Harry is also known across the country for leading advisers in the continuing battle to reaffirm students’ First Amendment rights following the Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision in 1988.
Harry wrote, “The first difficulty is the opposition many have to giving high school students the right to speak freely. How can we talk about First Amendment rights in social studies class and deny those rights minutes later in the journalism class makes absolutely no sense ... To believe that an educated populace can be maintained under heavy-handed censorship, as practiced in too many American schools, is truly foolish and can only lead to the gradual acceptance of government control of the means by which we communicate.”
Harry Proudfoot defines the job of a journalism educator as, “First it requires the courage to let go, to allow the students the liberty to explore, to set real goals for themselves, to take flight intellectually, emotionally and spiritually knowing that sometimes they will fail and that sometimes we will not be able to make it better. It requires us to be brave enough to let them suffer the consequences of their own actions. It requires us to have the courage to truly put into practice the ethics that underpin our fundamental documents: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and most especially, our dedication to the First Amendment. We don’t just touch the future. We touch the lives that will create the future.”
As Helen Smith wrote, “Harry Proudfoot personifies Courage.”
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association proudly recognizes this champion of scholastic journalism, Harry Proudfoot, with its Gold Key.
Sandy Woodcock has spent the last six years overseeing two readership programs as Director of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, but prior to that she was a high school journalism teacher and publications adviser.
According to Sandy, her lifelong passion for the scholastic press was born during those years as an adviser. She wrote, “It was through scholastic journalism that I truly learned to teach and it was in my journalism classroom where I was most able to see students make great strides in their skills acquisition and mastery. Scholastic journalism lifted me and my students to achieve beyond our dreams, to never limit our reach, to always set the bar high. It taught me to ‘pay it forward.’”
Sandy’s philosophy comes from a quote by Alma Johns, “Those who know must teach, those who don’t know must learn. Each one must reach one.”
In her role as the NAAF director Sandy has been able to continue to teach and to reach those who must learn. The foundation has funded the development and creation of teaching materials and online instructional tools. Almost all are free and most are available at the touch of a computer key.
Sandy wrote, “From curriculum to research I, in my role as foundation director, have continued to teach, to learn and to reach.”
Karen Flowers shared these thoughts, “A Southern Interscholastic Press Association board member gave the perfect description of Sandy. “Sandy breathes butterscotch with a touch of cinnamon into board meetings, informal airport conversations, and just about anything else that life gives her to talk about. Her thoroughness is amazing, and her level-headed focus is enviable. She is a solution-seeker and is quick to find a problem’s weak points so that they can be eliminated or rectified. Knowing her is a comfort because her objectivity illuminates both sides of an issue and makes that issue workable, She is generous with her resources for helping advisers and passionate about her journalism.”
CSPA Honors Committee
California Scholastic Journalism Initiative
Executive Director, Professional Prizes and
Executive Director, Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Graduate School of Journalism
Columbia University in the City of New York
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CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.