An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Middle and Upper School student publications win multiple state and national awards

Updated November 16, 2021

SPA's Middle and Upper School student publications are the recipients of multiple state and national awards this fall from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and the Journalism Educators of Minnesota (JEM).

The NSPA awarded three "Design of the Year" (DOY) accolades to SPA Upper School publications. The Rubicon earned two DOY honors, one in the "News Page One" category and the other in the "News Page or Spread" category. Iris: Art + Lit magazine also earned a DOY award in the "Specialty or Literary Magazine Spread" category. Photojournalist Nikolas Liepins '21 won a "Portfolio of the Year" award, and cartoonist Elle Chen '22 earned a "Cartoon of the Year" award. These awards are in addition to The Rubicon being named a Pacemaker Finalist for the seventh year in a row by the NSPA earlier in October; Iris: Art + Lit also received an All-American ranking, the highest possible, for their submission to the NSPA's annual critique program.

SPA publications also earned the highest accolades from the Journalism Educators of Minnesota. JEM All State Gold Awards were given to three Upper School publications--The Rubicon, RubicOnline, and Iris Art + Lit--as well as the Middle School yearbook. The Middle School Art and Literature Magazine was awarded an All State Silver. 

At the JEA/NSPA National Journalism virtual convention, SPA journalism garnered more honors. In "Best of Show", The Rubicon (print) won 10th place, RubicOnline took 3rd, and Iris: Art + Lit placed 4th overall. Additionally, in the JEA National Student Media contests, Claire Kim ’24 won Honorable Mention for her feature writing entry, and Eliza Farley ’24 won excellent for her Literary Magazine: poetry entry.

At this conference, JEA/NSPA also ranked the Individual Award finalists. SPA had finalists in Design of the Year, Photojournalist of the Year, and Cartoon of the Year. SPA achieved the following in the DOY category: Page One (4th place), News Page or Spread (Honorable Mention), and Literary or Speciality Magazine Spread (3rd place). They also took home honors for Cartoon of the Year - Editorial Cartoon, (3rd place).  Individually, Nikolas Liepins ‘21 took home 5th place for Photojournalist of the Year.

“Feedback is such an essential part of what we do,” says Upper School Director of Publications Kathryn Campbell. “While sweeping JEM with four All State Golds feels exceptional, what we appreciate most is the time journalism educators in the state took to provide feedback to our publications that we can immediately incorporate into our current reporting.”