April 17, 2023 / News & Notes

Striking Gold: Walsworth’s Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, wins the FSPA Gold Medallion Award

Written by Danielle Finch

About the Award

On Friday, April 14, Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, Walsworth key accounts specialist, yearbook sales representative and former adviser, received the FSPA Gold Medallion Award. According to the FSPA website, “The Gold Medallion, FSPA’s highest honor, honors service to the organization and to scholastic journalism. Previous recipients and FSPA executive board members select nominees and previous recipients vote to add two each year.”

Sabrina Schmitz, CJE

Schmitz is a Walsworth Yearbooks key accounts specialist, yearbook sales representative and the former publications adviser at J.W. Mitchell High School in Trinity, Florida. Under her leadership, The Stampede yearbook earned multiple CSPA Crowns, an NSPA Pacemaker, and a Design of the Year Finalist award. She won Teacher of the Year in 2013, was a District Teacher of the Year Finalist and teaches at workshops and conventions nationwide. Now she can add Gold Medallion Award recipient to her list of accomplishments. 

Susan McNulty, CJE, adviser at J.W. Mitchell High School and Renee Burke, MJE, nominated Schmitz for the prestigious award. Schmitz did not know she was even nominated.

Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, stands with Joanie Webster, FSPA Board President, with her FSPA Gold Medallion Award.

“Stepping into Sabrina Schmitz’s shoes when she left J.W. Mitchell High School was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” McNulty said. 

Serving as an account specialist, Schmitz sets the bar high for customer service and staff support. Dan Sidwell, adviser at Freedom High School, works closely with Schmitz to make their yearbook the best it can be. 

“Sabrina is the absolute best. She has pushed the kids in my program to always be their best, to always strive to do better. We would not have as much success as we’ve had over the past few years without Sabrina’s help and without her pushing us to be better.” Sidwell said. 

Not Just a Rep 

Aside from serving her schools, Schmitz plays a pivotal role in building comprehensive and well-rounded resources for all yearbook programs. She works closely with yearbook experts Jim Jordan and Mike Taylor, CJE, in a wide array of journalistic topics. 

“Sabrina Schmitz brings light and love and laughter wherever she is. She loves her advisers and staffs, works countless hours for them and wants to make them and their books the best they can be. She’s smart and sassy and you just want to be around her. Whenever we teach together, I always learn something new. What a great honor this is and she definitely deserves it.” Jordan said. 

The FSPA award ceremony highlighted the phenomenal support and dedication Schmitz shows to her schools and yearbook staffs across the country. The well-deserved award showcased the integral role Schmitz fills in the Florida scholastic journalism community. 

“She ran a stellar yearbook program, served as a fabulous mentor to her students and was always on the cutting edge of design. Now she is our Walsworth rep, and we benefit from her expertise through her classroom visits, workshops and constructive feedback throughout the creative process. We don’t know what we would do without her!” McNulty said.

Aside from her work with schools on a professional level, Schmitz builds positive relationships with every student and adviser she meets. Christina Procelli, adviser at H.B. Plant High School shed some light on her experience with Sabrina, highlighting the value she brings to her advising.

“I would be lost without Sabrina in my life. Literally lost. She is more than my rep. She is my friend.” 


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Danielle Finch

Danielle Finch is a former journalism adviser at Smithville High School and now works as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Walsworth. Danielle's passions lie in writing, managing web content and representing the needs of advisers.