Pacing the nation: Shawnee Mission Schools honored as top journalism programs in the country

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:01 AM CDT
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SHAWNEE, Kan. (KCTV) - Three Shawnee Mission schools will be recognized as some of the top journalism schools in the country Wednesday. Shawnee Mission East, North and Northwest were all named to the Pacemaker 100, the only school district in the country to have more than one school on the list. The ceremony is at the Kansas House of Representatives, starting at 11 a.m.

A Pacemaker is the top honor given for student journalism, which recognizes the best student-ran publications in the country. The Pacemaker 100 recognizes the top 100 student-run publications of the past 100 years. Shawnee Mission Northwest has won 23 pacemaker awards over that century period, more than any other school in the country.

Current students at Shawnee Mission Northwest said it’s an honor to be a part of a historic program, and glad their hard work is being recognized. Northwest freshman, Sofia Ball, said the recognition has given her a chance “to realize the extent of what this award means just to the publication.”

For other students that have been a part of the program longer, it’s a chance to reflect on what the program has been able to accomplish.

“It’s an awesome opportunity because you get to meet a lot of great people and people that are just as passionate about the same stuff as you are,” Northwest senior, Evan Johnson said. “You’re placed in a really great environment to succeed.”

Johnson plans to attend the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the fall.

Susan Massy has been a part of the Shawnee Mission Northwest journalism program for 44 years. At the end of the school year, she plans to retire from the school district. Massy said it’s time for her to move on from teaching and even though her role as a teacher will come to an end, the program will continue with new leadership.

“There’s a lot of knowledge that I don’t know how I’m going to pass on,” Massy said. “I have loved every minute of being here, I have loved every student that I have had the opportunity to work with and I just can’t imagine a better career.”

Shawnee Mission Northwest High School (No.1), Shawnee Mission North High School (No.4) and Shawnee Mission East (No. 9) finished in the top ten in the country for the Pacemaker 100. You can learn more about the award here.