The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

Wildcat Chronicle qualifies for Pacemaker

The NSPA Pacemaker is awarded to schools that demonstrate journalistic excellence.
Photo by Leslie Fireman
Students in ninth-period Journalism and Journalism Production enjoy an uncharacteristically warm day in February by holding their weekly committee meetings outdoors.

On Feb. 28, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) announced its 26 Pacemaker finalists, including the Wildcat Chronicle, a first for the 100-year-old student-led newspaper.

Like the Chronicle, the NSPA Pacemaker has been around for nearly a century, awarding schools for outstanding online and print newspapers, literary magazines, and newspapers. This year, 26 online sites qualified within the contest.

“The online sites competed in two different categories based on school population. Two teams of three judges studied every entry, analyzing its strengths. The status of each entry was agreed upon by at least two of the three judges,” NSPA said on its website.

The winners of the contest are to be announced in April, so for now, the judges will be regularly checking websites to determine the top contenders. NPSA aims to acknowledge a solid website that is one of the “best of the best.”

The editor and chief of the Wildcat Chronicle, Sasha Baumgartner, was an asset to the newspaper’s qualification in the competition. According to journalism adviser Leslie Fireman, Baumgartner’s consistency of hard work has made an impact on the Chronicle’s success. She described Baumgartner as a leader and a role model for many young reporters, and particularly those whose interests align with writing.

“Sasha is a tireless leader for this newspaper, and it is because of her efforts that we are contenders in this year’s Pacemaker competition. She is the hardest working journalist I know, and being named a finalist is testament to her drive, as well as our amazing staff,” Fireman said.

Baumgartner, along with Managing Editors Karidja Monjolo and Dhanveer Gill, keep the website up-to-date and collaborate as to ways in which the newspaper can offer more content that meets readers’ needs.

“The past few months, we have been working extremely hard to publish quality content daily, even on the weekends and holiday breaks. I have been super focused on ensuring that all of the sections of the newspaper are being updated. It has been a lot of work, but it has been very rewarding,” Baumgartner said.

Baumgartner came up with the idea to enter the competition after attending the JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Boston, at which she and Multimedia Manager Emily Ziajor had th opportunity to receive a critique of the school’s newspaper. After hearing what the critic had to say, Baumgartner believed the Wildcat Chronicle had what it takes to possibly make it far in the Pacemaker.

“Just being a finalist is a considerable achievement for our newspaper. We have come such a long way in a short amount of time, and all of our reporters work to put out a final product we can be proud of. This is a special group of people, and they deserve the recognition that comes with being a finalist. I am incredibly excited for the team,” Fireman said.

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Sami Moesch
Sami Moesch, Senior Reporter
Sami is a sophomore; this is her first year as a reporter for the Chronicle, and she joined because she wanted to try something new. When she is not busy reporting, Sami plays Varsity soccer in the spring at WEGO, and throughout the year with a local club team. When Sami is relaxing, she usually listens to Taylor Swift, but also tunes into other artists such as The Neighborhood, Gracie Abraham, Clairo, and Lana. She passes the time by watching two of her favorite shows “Gilmore Girls” and “Pretty Little Liars”. Her future is uncertain: Sami does not yet know what she wants to do as a career, but keeps her doors open for possibilities.
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