The A-Blast becomes finalist for national award

The A-Blast is a finalist for the Pacemaker award from the 2019-20 school year. The Pacemaker is an award given to high school newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, and broadcast programs by the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA).

The Pacemaker winners will be announced on Nov. 21 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, presented virtually this year.

The NSPA Pacemaker was started a few years after the organization was founded in 1921. It has since become one of the association’s premier awards.

Out of 190 entries from 30 different states, 60 became finalists and 24 will be given the award. Two other FCPS high schools were also Pacemaker finalists: The Highlander from McLean High School and tjTODAY from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

The Pacemaker is judged by three teams of three judges. In the first round of the competition, the publications competed against those of similar types — tabloid newspaper, broadsheet newspaper, newsmagazine, specialty magazine and junior high/middle school.

To be recognized as a finalist is an honor for The A-Blast.

The Pacemaker is awarded to publications that not only have excellent coverage, writing, editing, design and photography, but take risks as well.

“I feel proud of our whole A-Blast team for what we accomplished last year, and I am happy that it paid off by getting recognized as a finalist,” former Co-Editor in Chief Manny Precht said.

After schools closed in March of 2020, The A-Blast consistently updated the website and social media platforms to keep the community updated. This year, the staff has been working diligently from home to produce a high quality newspaper.

“It was nice to hear about, especially considering all the hard work that went into the paper last year, even after schools closed,” former Co-Editor in Chief Suad Mohamed said.