Holly Spirit and Red Oak win GSSPA awards

Holly Spirit and Red Oak win GSSPA awards

Alexis Chester, Managing Editor

The Holly Spirit newspaper and Red Oak Yearbook won several GSSPA awards following a successful 2020-2021 year. The awards were announced last week via Instagram live stream.

The Garden State Scholastic Association gives annual awards for student journalism and yearbook creation in New Jersey.  For the 2020-2021 year, the Holly Spirit won five awards and two honorable mentions. 

Holly Spirit placed third for social media presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.   

Senior Derek Derienzo won third place in the state with “What has Perseverance, the latest Mars rover, been up to?” Sophomore Mya Collins won an honorable mention in News writing with “RV completes Excellence through Equity Quality Program review by the DVCEE.”  

The class of 2021 graduates had several awards as well.  Shea Smith won second place in the state for news writing with her “Custodians: the unsung heroes” article. Brendan Collins placed second for review writing with “The Grammys don’t matter. So I listened to every Album of the Year nominee to prove it.” Hamilton Scudder placed third in review writing with “Godzilla vs. Kong: a titanic success.” Tanner Cole won an honorable mention for column writing with his column, “Cole’s Corner.”  

This is the first time in over a decade that the Holly Spirit has been recognized by the GSSPA. The newspaper’s recent re-establishment in the fall of 2021 began with a complete reorganization of the paper, as well as significant training outside of class, since a number of staff members on the Holly Spirit were unable to enroll in journalism. 

“The fact that we were able to win anything in our first year is really special,” said Mrs. Sarah Sherman, adviser to the Holly Spirit. “I think it shows that, despite the pandemic and scheduling issues, our staff continues to pump out well-researched and well-written pieces that are becoming important talking points for students at RV. My hope is that we continue to be a formidable force in student journalism in south Jersey.”

The Red Oak won the GSSPA All New Jersey Platinum Award, the highest honor the Garden State Scholastic Association awards New Jersey high school yearbooks.