The event, held at Columbia University in New York, NY, concluded March 19 with an awards convocation. Edward J. Sullivan, executive director of the CSPA, announced the 44 Gold Crowns and 110 Silver Crowns while Dr. Bruce Watterson, chair of the CSPAA committee on judging and standards, presented plaques to winners at the convention.
The Gold Crown is the highest journalism award given by the CSPA, with the Silver Crown ranking second. The 1,558 Crown Award entrants included magazines, newspapers, yearbooks and online publications.
The Feather is among 11 Gold Crown winners and 16 Silver winners in the online publications category. All high schools in North America are eligible for the honor; there are no divisions. The Feather competes with schools that have over 4000 students. This award is the second online Crown for The Feather, which won a Silver Crown in 2009.
As a large portion of the staff made a week-long trip to New York for the convention, editor-in-chief Suzanna Quiring and other editors were on hand to accept the plaque.
"I am absolutely thrilled to tears to win this award," Quiring, '10, said. "It such a credit to the entire staff of The Feather, as well as to [adviser Greg] Stobbe and the FCS community. I am so proud of The Feather and it is great to know that our hard work has been rewarded."
Though Sullivan stressed that there is a narrow difference in quality between Gold and Silver, Quiring is pleased that The Feather surpassed its previous achievement by earning a Gold Crown rather than Silver.
"This year we weren't comfortable — we knew we had to step it up," Quiring said. "So we went in with that mindset and became much more frequent with videos, slideshows and very up-to-date news. To expand and improve on last year's success is so important to me. We should never remain standing still; we must always move forward."
The Gold Crown, never won before by The Feather, carries special significance for seniors on the staff.
Last year The Feather missed an Online Pacemaker award, the National Scholastic Press Association's equivalent of the CSPA's Crown. According to adviser Greg Stobbe, this loss motivated the staff to strive for success this year — a mentality that is reflected in its Gold Crown.
"I'm most proud of the staff because, after it kicked itself for not stepping up in the competition last year, it redoubled its efforts to prove that the paper is a worthy competitor for national recognition," Stobbe said.
However, he said the staff now must concentrate on improving the newspaper.
"I'm excited for the staffers because they know not to remain content with what they have done but to continue pursuing excellence," Stobbe said. "We need to focus on what we can do to make the paper better. After this convention, people know what they need to do next; they just have to drive themselves to do it."