Awards & Recognition, Business, contests, High schools, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association

A sign of champions

By Pat Szpekowski, NINA first vice president

When driving to a destination, I usually catch a casual glance of signs when entering a new community. Cities and Villages proudly post accomplishments. You’ve seen them, too. Tree City USA. Hebron, Home of 1952 State Basketball Champions. Carpentersville-Bradie Tennell U.S. Olympic Champion. Algonquin-Jacobs High School alumnus Evan Jager, Olympic Champion.

Recently, I was driving west on Huntley Road from Algonquin and took a double-take when I saw the sign – 2021 IHSA Journalism State Champions HHS!

Honestly, I could have nearly driven off the road. JOURNALISM hit me clearly right between the eyes.

The Huntley High School journalism class, its newspaper The Voice, and adviser Dennis Brown have been given kudos over the years. They’ve received honors from the Illinois High School Association, Illinois Woman’s Press Association, National Federation of Press Women, and more. This recent sign-worthy honor from the IHSA was given to the school in May this year.

We applaud many noteworthy athletes and teams and deservedly so. How exciting, though, to see our profession, JOURNALISM, emblazoned right up there on the sign for everyone to see.

Dennis Johnson, village manager of Huntley, agreed.

“Thank you for noticing the signs celebrating the outstanding journalism program at Huntley High School,” Johnson wrote in an email to me. “We are proud of the team and felt the state championship absolutely deserved to be recognized. In fact, the entire team was honored at our May 27 Village Board meeting.”

Let’s be there for our budding journalists, too. NINA has proudly awarded annual scholarships to local high school journalists. We need to reach out more and make these schools aware we are here to help.

Offer an encouraging word or even visit your local high school or community college journalism class. Make personal contact with the adviser.

These budding writers, photographers, graphic designers, and digital communication experts are our future!

Stay tuned for a little more on this story with comments from Huntley High School.