El Estoque and El Valedor win NSPA Pacemaker awards

MVHS online student publication and yearbook recognized with national honors


Photo by Anushka De

Adviser Julia Satterthwaite accepts the Pacemaker Award at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco on April 22.

Jason Chu and Sameer Maheshwari

The National Scholastic Press Association recognized El Estoque and El Valedor with Pacemaker awards at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention on Saturday, April 22, 2023, highlighting both publications’ works throughout the past year and demonstrations of “general excellence” and “outstanding achievement in a national competition.”

This award is presented annually to student journalism publications in several categories, which are judged based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics. El Estoque and former El Valedor advisor Julia Satterthwaite, who attended the conference, recalls the joy she felt after NSPA announced the awards.

“I was honestly shocked,” Satterthwaitte said. “There are so many phenomenal programs around the world, and to be named Online and Yearbook Pacemaker winners is a tremendous honor and no easy feat.”

Of 140 websites submitted to the Online Pacemaker competition, 24 were named Pacemaker Finalists and 13 earned Pacemaker Winner status. In the Yearbook category, 44 Yearbook Pacemaker Finalists were named and 19 earned the top Pacemaker Winner honor.

This achievement marks El Valedor’s first national Pacemaker award and El Estoque’s seventh Online Pacemaker award. Senior and El Valedor Managing Editor Joyce Lui says although the award was unexpected, she was “ecstatic” at the news. Lui credits the award to great leadership and coverage guided by the “dedicated head editor team” and an “encouraging adviser.”

“[Being] able to get a Pacemaker solidifies the hard work we put [in] last year,” Lui said. “I remember being a new staff member and being quite overwhelmed with everything that I had to do, but getting a Pacemaker, it’s a reward. And [it] shows that my efforts were worth it.”

Satterthwaite and Lui both agree that the achievement is a special moment that sets the stage for an even brighter future. 

“The name Pacemaker comes from the concept that these are the publications that are the best of the best — that set the pace for what other programs should aspire to,” Satterthwaite said. “It’s been an honor to advise these incredible staffs. I hope El Estoque and El Valedor will continue the tradition of excellence that our community has come to expect from us.”