February 6, 2023 / News

Massy, Monroe Honored as Lifetime Achievement Winners by JEA

Written by Jim Jordan

The Lifetime Achievement Award represents one of the highest honors scholastic journalism advisers can receive. It’s an acknowledgement of the overwhelming contributions to student journalism and the many years dedicated to its cause. This year, two Walsworth advisers are being recognized with this honor.

With more than 70 years advising combined, Susan Massy from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kansas, and Patricia Monroe from Burges High School in El Paso, Texas, will each receive a JEA Lifetime Achievement Award at the National High School Journalism Convention in April. Monroe retired in July of 2020 and Massy will be retiring this spring.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of both Susan and Pat,” Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Manager Aimee Parsons said. “They are both incredible educators and amazing individuals who have not only helped mold the minds of their yearbook staffs, but also enhanced the lives of many others within the journalism community. We couldn’t be happier that these two very deserving people are receiving this award.”

Susan Massy’s achievements in the world of scholastic journalism are unparalleled – National Yearbook Adviser of the Year, CSPA Gold Key, JEA Medal of Merit, NSPA Pioneer. Her yearbook, the Lair, is in the NSPA Hall of Fame and recently was named the number one program in the in the Pacemaker 100 – the scholastic journalism program with the most Pacemaker awards in the 100-year history of the organization with 23 Pacemakers and three Pacemaker Finalists.

The greatness of Susan Massy is so much more than any award. What really sets her apart is her hard work, her com­mitment to excellence, her curiosity, and most of all her love for her students. She is a giver in every sense of the word. She will always give you everything she’s got to make you more successful.

After graduating from Kansas State University in 1978, she began her teaching career at Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kansas, where she taught English, newspaper, yearbook, debate/forensics, speech and directed two plays a year. In the Fall of 1980, she made the move to Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and has been there ever since. When she retires this June, she will have been teaching for 45 years and advised 45 yearbooks.

“Susan is a treasure chest of knowledge related to scholastic journalism, always willing to share what she has stored in her brain,” Shawnee Mission South High School yearbook adviser Tucker Love said.

Pat Monroe is one of the true unsung heroes of our profession. She is diligent, engaged and unbelievably humble. She fades into the background as she shines her light on her students.

Pat is a hometown El Paso girl and has served the community her entire life. She graduated from An­dress High School and then earned her BA in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Texas, El Paso. After graduating, she began her career as a reporter for KDBC-TV in El Paso and worked as an assignment editor, tape editor, 10 p.m. producer from 1980-1990. While there she won several broadcast reporting awards.

In the second half of her career from 1990 to the 2020s, she taught at Burges High School as a pub­lications adviser for yearbook, newspaper, broadcast and literary magazine, and she coached the UIL journalism team.

Her personal achievements in scholastic journalism are many. She was selected as a JEA National Ad­viser Special Recognition Award in April 2014, was UT-El Paso’s first-ever recipient of the “Recognition of Academic Excellence” award chosen by UT-El Paso president Dr. Diana Natalicio in April 2013, and received the Edith Fox King Award (UIL-ILPC) for outstanding teaching in the field of journalism. In the final year or her career she was awarded  ILPC’s Max Haddock Award for Texas Teacher of the Year.

The accomplishments of both her yearbook and newspaper staffs are even more remarkable. Though her students at Burges High School lacked many of the resources of larger schools, Pat believed in them and guided them to exceed all expectation. The Hoofbeats yearbook earned an amazing 18 Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Crowns and was nominated for NSPA Pacemakers 19 times, winning 11. The Stampede newspaper earned 11 Crowns and 6 Pacemakers, with four more named finalists. In St. Louis, each of those publications was named one of the NSPA Pacemaker 100 in their respective categories.

“The remarkable woman who led those staffs to national prominence is a quiet, shy, humble and classy individual who had a unique ability to inspire her student journalists to produce amazing work in a school where the majority of the students were classified as Economically Disadvantaged and At-Risk,” said Cindy Todd, Texas Association of Journalism Educators, Executive Director.

To read more about all of the individuals honored, visit the JEA blog here.

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Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.