Wildcat Staff Wins Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards

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Alexis Alexander

Senior Alexis Alexander’s photo of Ocean Park, freshman, doing back flips in the quad won third place in the Single Spot News Photograph category at the 39th annual Golden Circle Awards of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Wildcat staff members Doyon Kim, junior, and seniors Makayla Huerta and Alexis Alexander, received awards for their individual contributions to the Wildcat in 2020 and 2021, announced at the 39th annual Gold Circle Awards hosted by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) in March.

The CSPA is an international student press association that recognizes and awards student journalists for superior performance. The organization’s mission is to “unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.”

This year, 4,132 entries were entered in 91 categories across yearbook and digital media publications. The eligibility period for qualifying work was from Oct. 2, 2020 to Oct. 12, 2021.

Huerta won six awards, receiving first place for “A Pandemic of Anti-Asian Violence Hits Close to Home” in the category Computer Generated Art/Illustration; first place in Cartoons for “Pretty Enough,”; Certificate of Merit for “Senior Year Sadness” in the same category; second place for “The Candidates”; third place for “Taylor Swift” in the Hand Drawn Illustration category; and first place for Cartoon Portfolio of Work.

Huerta utilizes her surroundings when planning what to draw. “My inspiration comes from my surroundings, and socializing and reactions of humans,” Huerta said. “A lot of my artwork is centered around humans and [ideas] that would be relatable for many.”

The Wildcat’s Editor-in-Chief, Kim, was awarded first place forBOUSD Board Education Seat Determined by Roll of Dice” in News Writing and third place in Headline Writing. The news story explained the events of a Dec. 5, 2019 BOUSD Board of Education meeting that determined the Governing Member seat between members Gail Lyons and Lauren Barnes by the roll of a pair of dice.

The writing of the article proved to be a valuable learning opportunity for Kim. “[The process] required a lot of quotes and research, but it also encouraged me to step out of my bubble and reach out to people in the district. I made some great connections with the people I interviewed and got to know my community better,” Kim said. 

Alexander’s third place photo, in the category Single Spot News Photograph, depicts Ocean Park, freshman, backflipping in the quad on the first day back to in-person schooling.

Throughout the years, Alexander has acquired methods for the perfect picture. “When I’m looking for something to photograph I usually choose something that catches my eye. On the first day there was a kid in the middle of the quad back-flipping in front of everyone,” Alexander said.

Being a part of the Wildcat has taught Alexander valuable life lessons. “I’ve learned that hard work pays off, to always produce good work, and to persevere despite not always getting recognized,” Alexander concluded.