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.
Esther Wojcicki receives Gold Key
Esther Wojcicki, newspaper adviser at Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto, CA), was presented with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Gold Key during a special presentation at Columbia University on February 21, 2009.
CSPA executive director Edmund J. Sullivan presented Wojcicki with an award plaque and a Gold Key pendant while 54 of her students from Palo Alto High School applauded and cheered.
During the week of February 15, 2009, Wojcicki and her students were in New York City on a tour of professional media outlets.
Their last stop was at Columbia University, where Ed Sullivan spoke about CSPA, Columbia and the future of scholastic journalism. The opportunity to present Wojcicki with her Gold Key with 54 of students present was too tempting to pass up.
Wojcicki was excited and honored to receive her Key at Columbia with her newspaper staff and journalism students on hand. "It meant so much for it to be presented before my students!" she said.
During the official Advisers Awards Luncheon on March 20, 2009, Wojcicki's name will be read with the seven other honorees and will officially enter the Gold Key Class of 2009.
The following is the citation Wojcicki's Gold Key award, presented on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at Columbia University in the City of New York.
The citation was written by Kathleen D. Zwiebel, publications adviser at Pottsville Area High School (Pottsville, PA) and immediate past president of the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association. CSPA executive director Edmund J. Sullivan read the citation.
Col. Joseph Murphy began the tradition of awarding Gold Keys in 1929, more than 78 years ago, shortly after the Columbia Scholastic Press Association was founded in 1925.
With the Gold Key, CSPA recognizes educators and members of the professional press primarily for their service to the Association and to journalism.
Through their contributions to CSPA, Gold Key recipients have demonstrated their support for excellence in teaching journalism and in advising student publications.
The Gold Key Award citation says:
“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.”
Esther Wojcicki’s resumé is impressive. To highlight just a few areas, her educational background ... Esther Wojcicki was valedictorian of her high school class, graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in English and Political Science, received a secondary teaching credential from UC Berkeley, as well as a graduate degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley. She has an advanced degree in French and French History from the Sorbonne, and both a Secondary School Administrative Credential and a M.A. in Educational Technology from San Jose State University.
Her journalism experience ... Esther has taught at Palo Alto High School since 1987, where she currently teaches journalism and English. She began the journalism program there which has grown to become one of the largest in the nation. The sports magazine Viking, the web journalism program, the broadcast journalism program, and Campanile On-Line edition of the school newspaper were all initiated by Esther. She built the print school newspaper, The Campanile, into a national award winning publication. She has worked as a professional journalist for multiple publications and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post. She served on the University of California Office of the President Curriculum Committee where she helped revise the beginning and advanced journalism curriculum for the state of California.
Her honors ... Esther was the 1990 Northern California Journalism teacher of the year, and was selected as the California Teacher of the Year in 2002 by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She was appointed to the board of directors of Creative Commons in 2008.
And ... this covers just a few of her many outstanding accomplishments and accolades.
Esther has always been on the cutting edge of technology and journalism. When her daughter Anne’s husband, Sergey Brin, co-founded Google, Esther served as a consultant, set up the Google Education website and helped develop the Google Teachers Academy.
One of Esther’s students wrote, “‘Woj,’ our teacher adviser, not only encourages reporters but defends them from administration restrictions and censorship. Woj supports our endeavors and expectations, preserving The Campanile’s journalistic freedom and integrity.”
Fellow adviser Paul Kandell wrote, “There is a Campanile story that has grown into a local legend in Palo Alto and which tells a lot about the fearless brand of journalism Esther has taught her students for years. Tipped off that the district superintendent was using his district credit card for non-approved expenses, including flowers and restaurant bills, Campanile journalists had walked into the district office asking for key credit card records. District staff at first refused, but when confronted with FOIA arguments, relented, delivering a foot-high stack of documents, which they insisted could not leave the building. Can we make copies, the students asked? For 10 cents each was the response. No deal, Esther said. The students left but returned a day later — with a photocopier, which they plugged into the wall. The superintendent was gone within a year."
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association takes great pride in honoring Esther Wojcicki with its Gold Key.
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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.