A combination of talent, cohesiveness and commitment has earned a select group of students statewide accolades and international attention.
The staff of the 2011-12 Scepter, the school’s monthly newspaper that’s been in existence since the school’s 1960 opening, has taken the publication to an extraordinarily high level of excellence.
Quill and Scroll, an international high school journalism honor society of which King is a charter member, has named Scepter as a First Place International Superior Award winner among a field of more than 14,267 high schools in the United States and 44 other countries.
The newspaper’s overall coverage and visuals earned it a superior rating, and the quality of the publication’s writing netted its staff an excellent review.
Scepter’s editing, policy guidelines and business practices were also evaluated according to a point system each Quill and Scroll-appointed judge was required to follow.
“A lot of these kids are in class only a small portion of the time, but they are able to produce quality work,” said Christine Munoz, Scepter’s faculty advisor and longtime teacher of the school’s Journalism 1 class, in which students learn and apply the ins and outs of putting together a top-notch publication.
The Scepter staff, which changes in makeup every year, has consistently ranked highly among its peers, Munoz added.
This year, the publication also achieved the title of an All-Florida newspaper by the Florida Scholastic Press Association.
“It’s been very exciting to get the superior rating, but being an All-Florida paper is just as important,” Munoz said.
Editor-in-Chief Sahil Shah, a 12th-grader, said he was enticed to take the class this year as a result of what he’d observed previously in reading the Scepter and talking with those on last year’s student-run staff.
“I definitely wanted to take this class because I saw a lot of seniors who really had good communications skills and because they had become great writers,” said Shah, who hopes to have a career in which journalism and politics overlap.
Production Manager Kimberly Carlin, also a 12th-grader, said while she plans to go into the medical field, her experience with the newspaper is invaluable.
“The human interaction aspect and the strong ethics requirements will be very helpful,” she said.
Eleventh-grader Kunaal Murthy, Specter’s sports assistant, said what most impresses him about the newspaper staff is how well they work together, especially under deadline scenarios.
“When it comes down to crunch time, we all communicate well to do our jobs,” he said.
Shah noted that the most important aspect of putting together a quality product is to have a good mix of stories, opinions, photos and graphics that include poll results and other illustrations.
“The biggest thing is to find balance between content and design,” he said. “That’s what the judges are looking at in their evaluations.”
Features Editor Nisha Patel, who also has helped with the newspaper’s design, said it is gratifying to know the staff’s detailed planning and hard work have paid off.
“I think, at some point, it’s great to know that we got an award like this and to know that the many hours we spend on putting this out has been recognized,” she said.
The Scepter staff includes:
- Editor-in-Chief Sahil Shah
- Production Manager Kimberly Carlin
- Business Manager Rachita Das
- Copy Editor Keerthi Vengatesan
- Content Editor Amy Cheng
- News Editor Xiaoyi Ren
- Assistant News Editor Lolade Bakade
- Features Editor Nisha Patel
- Features Assistant Eric Chao
- Editorials Editor Sheena Jain
- Photography Editor Sy-woei Hao
- Graphics Editor Jena Young
- Sports Editor Marigny Nevitt
- Sports Assistant Kunaal Murthy
- Marketing Manager Visruti Sankar
- Columnist Braden Smith
- Administrative Assistant Sucheta Roy
- Web Specialist Haoqing Wang
- Staff Writer Shivam Bharadwaj
- Staff Writer Neha Patil
- Staff Writer Serena Kotwal
- Staff Writer Rishi Bollu
- Staff Writer Nathan Logan
- Staff Writer Angel Kennedy