Pacemaker5Feather staff

With the Best of Show award and Online Pacemaker in hand, the 2012-13 Feather staff stands alone with the National Scholastic Press Association’s top award, April 29.

After working endless hours on journalism throughout the whole school year, it was announced that The Feather Online received a National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Online Pacemaker Award and the Best of Show award for Small School division at the Journalism Education Association (JEA)/NSPA High School Journalism Convention awards ceremony, April 29.

This is the first time in the publication’s history that The Feather has received all these awards in a single school year: NSPA All-American publication, Columbia Press Association (CSPA) Gold Medalist, All-Columbian Honors, CSPA Gold Crown, NSPA Best of Show and NSPA Online Pacemaker Award.

Fourteen students traveled to San Francisco with adviser Greg Stobbe to attend the convention, which was held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. On the final day of the conference, around 4,000 journalism students filled the Marriott Marquis hotel Yerba Buena convention hall. After anxiously waiting as a staff, it was announced that The Feather won both the Pacemaker and Best of Show.

According to the NSPA website, 50 finalists were selected from a record 252 entries. Out of the 50 finalists only 23 online newspapers were given a Pacemaker. From the 20 finalists in the Small School division (1,500 students or less) The Feather was one of nine recipients to receive the Pacemaker. The Feather was among one other online high school newspaper from California to receive the award.

Upon the announcements at the awards ceremony, Editor-in-chief Tynin Fries, Senior Editor Maddie Yee and Features Editor Viviana Hinojosa went up to receive the awards for the whole staff.

Even with the Gold Crown award under The Feather’s belt, Fries still did not expect to win the Pacemaker. Knowing the staff defied the odds by winning the Gold Crown, she still thought it impossible to win both awards with such a new staff.

“When we were waiting in the ceremony, it was going by so fast that I was in a daze,” Fries said. “I couldn’t control myself. I was sweating and shaking and so close to screaming because I was so nervous. I didn’t expect to win, it just seemed so impossible for this young staff to win both the Gold Crown and the Pacemaker. Then, when they said our name, I couldn’t even believe it. It felt like a dream. And the best moment of my life.”

To Stobbe’s surprise, the staff rallied together to produce as much as they could for The Feather itself as well as remaining dedicated to updating its social media cites on a regular basis. Stobbe saw the drive his staff had to impress the Best of Show judges, and hoped it would be enough to get The Feather recognized.

“I was overwhelmed by the staff’s willingness to systematically use social media, video and photos along with interesting articles while still attending the conference,” Stobbe said. “It looked like they were determined to outwork most of the newspaper staffs. I marvel at their work ethic and it must have piqued the interest of the Best of Show judges. I am one proud adviser right now!”

When I was waiting to hear the announcement of whether or not The Feather was an Online Pacemaker recipient, I was legitimately scared. said. When I heard our name called, the sense of relief I felt was beyond belief. All the hard work and long hours payed off in that one second. It was a very humbling experience because I knew that none of it would be possible without the hardworking staff we have. Then, when we were announced Best of Show, I couldn’t believe it. To be a part of a staff that won all seven awards we were striving for is just amazing. –Viviana Hinojosa, Feather editor

As part of a staff that has won more awards than any other year, Yee is grateful to be a part of something that has given her joy throughout her time spent with the publication. Being an editor for the paper has been an honor for Yee as well as an overall great experience.

“This was literally the best senior year anyone could ever ask for or imagine,” Yee said. “Coming home with the Pacemaker and Best of Show was an overwhelming feeling of joy. I feel so honored to be a part of this staff and to work as one of the editors. This year was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but we ended up achieving more awards than any other year.”

Stobbe holds nothing but admiration for Fries. Since the beginning Stobbe knew to keep his eye on her, believing she would go far and do great things. Stobbe has only seen her dedication to the paper grow more and more with time, leaving him to believe she will let nothing get in her way of making The Feather the best paper it can be.

“The Editor-in-Chief, junior Tynin Fries, while bossy at times, is willing to lead by example,” Stobbe said. “She will out write, out work, and put in more hours than anyone else. She led this team by example and while not all staff members will call her friend, they all know she is their leader. And my admiration grows even stronger when others find out she leads a daily newspaper staff despite being dyslexic. She is a tiger and I attribute the belief level of the staff because of what she is willing to do with them in the trenches.”

After a long and stressful year for Hinojosa, she finally felt the relief she had been waiting for. Following the announcement of the Pacemaker and Best of Show, Hinojosa was overwhelmed with gratitude toward her staff because of the dedication and hard work they have shown her throughout the year, which propelled The Feather towards these awards.

“When I was waiting to hear the announcement of whether or not The Feather was an Online Pacemaker recipient, I was legitimately scared,” Hinojosa said. “When I heard our name called, the sense of relief I felt was beyond belief. All the hard work and long hours payed off in that one second. It was a very humbling experience because I knew that none of it would be possible without the hardworking staff we have. Then, when we were announced Best of Show, I couldn’t believe it. To be a part of a staff that won all seven awards we were striving for is just amazing.”

After the initial shock of winning a Pacemaker, Fries barely had time to breathe before hearing the announcement of the Best of Show award. Once The Feather received the trophy, Fries was blown away, especially considering that this award was based off the material they produced while in San Francisco.

“There was celebrating and congratulating, but then it started all over gain with Best of Show,” Fries said. “That one {award} meant so much to me because we had worked our butts off all week to even attempt second place. It proved that the few of us that were attending the conference could work harder than any other staff at the conference, and that means more than anything to us.”

With only eight returning staff members, Stobbe felt that it was improbable that this year’s staff would win. Starting the year at only 14 members, and slowly recruiting their numbers the 34, the staff began to believe when they gained momentum.

“Tynin’s sidekicks, senior Maddie Yee and junior Viviana Hinojosa and photographer sophomore Ryan