For years, Convent High School student publications have amassed national awards, but now Convent's leader, Rachel Simpson, has received one of the biggest honors in scholastic press for her support of student journalism.
Last spring, Convent High School received a prestigious national award for supporting student publication editors in making all final content decisions. Now the Journalism Education Association has named Rachel Simpson, head of Convent High School, as the 2018 Administrator of the Year for her role in actively protecting student expression.
Rachel, who will be formally honored in early November at the National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, believes in student ownership of their work.
"As an educator, I want students to think for themselves and recognize the significance of their ideas and opinions," Rachel says. "As they make their own decisions about stories, each student journalist bears the responsibility for her work — reporting and commentating fairly and ethically."
With Rachel's "respect for preserving authorial voice," as she calls it, Convent High School, with its award-winning student-run newspaper, The Broadview, has won the First Amendment Press Freedom Award four times. Only three private schools nationwide have ever received this award, which recognizes schools "that actively support, teach and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers," according to the Journalism Education Association.
Scholastic Journalism & Media Director Tracy Sena nominated Rachel for the administrator award, while Visual Arts Department Chair Rachel McIntire and The Broadview editors-in-chief, Cece Giarman and Josephine Rozzelle, submitted letters on Rachel's behalf describing her support of student journalism.
"I am feeling a joyful disbelief — and lots of gratitude for the school, for the faculty and for our students," Rachel says. Referring to Goal 5 of the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria, she adds, "The spirit and engagement of 'wise freedom' gives me great confidence in our student journalists."