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SCSPA honors Rising Star adviser, magazine and yearbook programs

By Leslie Dennis, Director of Scholastic Media
Posted October 3, 2017


SCSPA honored outstanding students, programs and an adviser of scholastic journalism at its fall conference Monday, October 2 at the University of South Carolina Russell House.

Before acknowledging magazine and yearbook journalists with individual and program awards, SCSPA recognized one adviser who earned the organization’s award acknowledging the achievements of advisers with five years of experience or fewer.

Amanda Hajji, Cat’s Paw yearbook adviser at Lexington HS, was awarded Bruce E. Konkle Rising Star Award for making a difference in the lives of her media students by modeling what it’s like to be excited about learning, encouraging professionalism in media production and creating excitement in her classroom for the love of written, verbal and visual communications.

Principal Melissa Rawl described Hajji as someone who “brought a ‘burst of light’ to a darkening curriculum.”

Since taking over the yearbook program at her school, she has brought innovation and empowerment to the classroom. She runs the yearbook like a business, allowing her students to take the lead. She introduced the use of iPads to record interviews for accuracy and made new editor positions that play to the strengths of her staff members.

Not only does this adviser encourage students to love journalism and perform their best in class, she encourages them to build a portfolio and exhibit professionalism. She has her senior students create a portfolio including a business card, resume and cover letter.

Former student Rosemary Coskrey said, “She was genuinely excited to find out about where my future was taking me and always celebrated my accomplishments. I will forever appreciate her support and advice throughout that process and am so grateful to have had a teacher who puts so much energy into forming meaningful connections with her students.”

Hajji was one of three outstanding teachers nominated for the 2017 Rising Star award. She was joined by Hannah Kreiner of J.L. Mann HS (Greenville) and Candice Phillips of Northwestern HS (Rock Hill).

The full fall awards list is posted on the scholastic press website.