Holman earns top place in national newspaper competition for third year in a row
Holman earns top place in national newspaper competition for third year in a row
Friday, May 11, 2018
Holman Middle School earned a first-place award in the American Scholastic Press Association’s Scholastic (ASPA) Newspaper Awards for 2018. This is the third consecutive year that the Holman Pirate Times won the national top middle school newspaper award.

Schools can achieve a first, second or third place or or honorable mention if score an appropriate amount of points out of a possible 1,000 points. Holman scored 885 points this year, earning a first-place award in the intermediate schools category, which includes schools with sixth through eighth grades and an enrollment of between 500 and 1,000 students. Holman earned a second-place award the previous two years, which was the highest score for any middle school in the nation for those years, with scores in the 830s.

In total, 113 high schools and colleges across the nation, including schools such as Texas A & M University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, earned a first-place award this year, but only one middle school achieved first place - Holman.

The ASPA website states, "Our service, in the form of a contest, provides advice on page design, story layout, graphics, headlining, cover design, advertising placement, photography and a variety of other useful items. When a school is spending several thousand dollars on a school publication, this service more than pays for itself in the help it provides in the year-to-year improvement in the style, format, contents and presentability of the school yearbook or magazine." 

“Of course, we have a budget of zero dollars, which makes our winning even more improbable,” said Glenn Changar, Newspaper Club sponsor. “We have used the association’s advice each year to improve the writing, editing and style of the Pirate Times.”

The staff of the Pirate Times consists of a dozen 11- through 13-year-olds who devote time after-school to producing this newspaper, which is published approximately four times annually. They include editor-in-chief Sofia Boughton, Nolan Ballard, Howard Cooper, Sydney Hoynacki, Jeremiah Hutchins, Talisa Prabhu, Matt Jacobi, Breon Jones, Loralai Ruzzo, DonMonique Simpkins, Sophia Tabers, Syeda Urooj Fatima and Destiny Wiser.

The newspaper started in 2014 when Dr. Sarah Moran, Holman principal, wanted to offer an after-school activity for students who were not involved in athletics or the Honor Society, but wanted to be a part of something.

“That first year, no newspaper was produced, but it was a great learning experience,” Changar said. “Some amazing students have worked hard to produce this newspaper over the last three years. It is a labor of love. The club is totally inclusive, and no student has ever been turned away."

Boughton has helmed the newspaper for the last two years, but will be moving on to high school next year, and a new editor-in-chief will be selected.

“Sofia has written the most stories, poems and editorials of anyone in the club,” Changar said, “and always with a smile and a positive attitude. These kids work together like a family. When one student cannot complete a story, another steps up to make sure it gets done.”

Changar congratulated the members in an email as soon as he received information about the award: “You have earned Holman Middle School a first-place NATIONAL award. This is almost unheard of for a small school like ours. I am so excited for you all that I am about to burst with pride.”

The latest issue of the Pirate Times can be viewed on the Holman Middle School website (holman.psdr3.org) or on Holman’s Facebook site.


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Sponsor Glenn Changar is shown with members of the nationally recognized Holman Newspaper Club.