By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Henry W. Grady High School’s literary magazine, The Unmasking, has earned a Pacemaker award, widely considered the “Pulitzer Prize” of high school journalism. The prestigious award is given by the Journalism Educator’s Association (JEA) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), and is awarded at the organizations’ spring journalism convention.
The Pacemaker is a first for The Unmasking, which received the award for its 2016 magazine.
“We are extraordinarily proud of this national award for our literary magazine,” Grady Principal Dr. Betsy Bockman said. “At Grady, student creativity is at the core of what we do; The Unmasking embodies our commitment to writing, the arts, and student expression.”
Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association presents the Pacemaker, scholastic journalism’s preeminent award. There is a category for each type of publication – online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine and broadcast. Entries are judged by teams of professionals based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography, and graphics.
Nalin Needham, adviser for The Unmasking, said winning the award was a complete surprise. Since becoming adviser three years ago, Needham said he was initially more concerned with trying to establish basic organizational structures that would allow the staff to produce a quality literary magazine.
“While I could tell that we grew leaps and bounds over this three-year period, I had no real conception that we were producing something that would end up being recognized on a national platform,” Needham said. “The lion’s share of credit for this achievement belongs to the students who have committed their time, energies, and efforts to our magazine. The staff at The Unmasking has been phenomenal. They are the lifeblood of our publication. It was and is through their hard work, dedication, creativity, and collaborative spirit that we have been able to produce our now award-winning publication, and consequently they, more than anyone else, deserve this recognition for their contributions to it.”
Established in 1986, The Unmasking publishes writing and artwork by students throughout Grady High School. It is published in the fall and spring each school year.