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MPH student newspaper earns eight gold awards

Advisor credits impassioned students for paper’s success

Rolling Stone staffers

MPH senior Erin Simmonds is editor of The Rolling Stone, and Melissa Chessher is advisor to the student newspaper staff. The other members of the staff are: Managing Editor Erica Perry; Sports Editor Tim Goldman; Staff Editors Devra Gatling and Isaac Signorelli; Design Staff Alyssa Hansen, Ji-Young Lee, and Danielle Umstead; Senior Writers Rosette Lanoir, Julia Morrison, Zack Mitchell, Margaret Stevens, and Christopher Venditti; Staff Photographer Jun Lee; Staff Writers Antonio Barrera Mejia, Katrina Heitzman, Ben Jaworski, Will Kniesner, Alexus Martin and Morgan Smith.

The Rolling Stone, Manlius Pebble Hill School’s student newspaper, last week was honored with eight gold awards, including Best All-Around Publication, by the Empire State Scholastic Press Association.

In competition with 75 schools from around the state, MPH also won gold awards for originality, service to school, most improved publication, feature story, in-depth coverage, personality/interview and front page. The ESSPA awards were announced Friday, Oct. 21, during the organization’s fall conference, held at Syracuse University.

“Honestly, it feels great,” said Melissa Chessher, advisor to the MPH student newspaper and assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. Chessher was honored with the association’s Advisor of the Year award.

“My daughter attended MPH, and I always wanted to help with the newspaper because I remember being a high school kid who loved books and writing and how much I enjoyed working on my high-school newspaper, and then my college newspaper,” she said. “I wanted the newspaper to be something that attracted those types of kids, and I hoped those kids might consider studying journalism in college. Having a great high school newspaper helps.”

Staff members of the 2010-11 Rolling Stone earned nine additional awards (silver, bronze, or honorable mention) in categories ranging from photography and special event coverage to editorial, features and entertainment/review.

Chessher said that in an effort to make the paper better, she has urged her students to create a publication that spoke to its audience and covered issues that were important to them and in a voice that felt familiar. The Rolling Stone is published four to five times a year and is read by the school’s 600 students along with faculty, staff and parents.

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