WESTFIELD NJ — The continuous efforts put forth by the staff of Westfield High School’s student-led newspaper, despite this year's unique challenges, has earned them a prestigious ward.

Hi’s Eye received first place in Annual Newspaper Reports by the American Scholastic Press Association, the school district announced. The association critiques college and high school newspapers from around the United States annually and scores them on format, content, presentation and other criteria.

Hi’s Eye was among a number of student newspapers at high schools within a specific enrollment category to receive first place recognition for Spring 2020.

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When the Westfield Public Schools moved to remote learning in March, the staff of Hi’s Eye quickly remodeled the way they operated to keep publishing. Switching from print to online-only publication, Hi’s Eye students utilized digital methods of communication to promptly adjust and continue creating new articles each week.

“We work together as a team and a family with a common goal,” said Hi’s Eye advisor Shawn McDonald. “[The students] put in many hours together to make this newspaper what it is each week.”

McDonald said that the students’ collaborative effort and dedicated hard work throughout the pandemic and spring season allowed for them to earn this esteemed recognition.

“I am always amazed at what a group of motivated and talented teenagers are capable of,” said McDonald.

Westfield Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan recognized the accomplishment in a press release.

“Congratulations to our student journalists and advisers Shawn McDonald and Gail O'Connor on this prestigious award,” Dolan said.

The award wasn't a first. Hi’s Eye has received numerous reputable awards since it was first published in 1935.

“The journalism program at Westfield high School is one that is rooted in tradition and excellence,” McDonald said. “What we have here at Westfield High School is unique and special.”

Annika Vesuna is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

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