August 21, 2019 / News

Six Walsworth advisers named 2019 JEA Rising Stars

Written by Jenica Hallman, CJE

We already know that we have the best yearbook advisers at our schools, but it feels pretty great when the rest of the country recognizes that too. That’s why it was so exciting to hear that six of the 12 Rising Stars Award winners announced today by the Journalism Education Association (JEA) are Walsworth customers!

  • Samantha Lasarow, CJE, El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, California
  • Vanessa Martinez El Dorado High School, El Paso, Texas
  • Bridgette Norris, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
  • Leigh Rogers, Hermann High School, Hermann, Missouri
  • Daniel Sidwell, Freedom High School, Tampa, Florida
  • Angela Wolfe, CJE, Burke High School, Omaha, Nebraska

Makena Busch, CJE, Mead High School, Spokane, Washington; Jeni Daley, CJE, Shawnee Heights High School, Tecumseh, Kansas; Kaitlin Edgerton, Grosse Pointe South High School, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan; Erin L. Gallegos, Ronald Reagan High School, San Antonio, Texas; Abrianna R. Nelson, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia; and Roth A. Lovins, Columbus (Indiana) North High School were also named JEA Rising Stars.

All 12 recipients will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C., this November. Walsworth offers our sincerest congratulations to all on this monumental accomplishment!

While those who know these advisers best were thrilled for them, they were hardly surprised. Walsworth sales rep Alyssa Moses, who is Leigh Rogers’ rep, saw her star quality first-hand as she watched Rogers in action.

“Leigh is a force of positivity, generous with her time to her staff and other advisers in need. She is the first to ask, ‘How can I help?’ and the first to raise her hand to volunteer. There is nothing she can’t do,” Moses said. “Leigh turned the program into a highly profitable and journalistic program that gets better each year. Keep watching, see what she does next!”

Walsworth sales rep Michelle DiSimone, CJE, has observed Lasarow infuse her students with courage and confidence as they built up their journalism program.

“A commitment not only to scholastic journalism but also the growth of her students as individuals makes Samantha a natural choice for this award,” DiSimone said. “With her background in publications at Stanford University and recent CJE certification, it was clear she was capable and had the knowledge to be successful, but the transformation in their student media seen under her leadership has been truly inspirational and beyond what we could have imagined.”

Commitment was a defining common denominator. Walsworth rep Tracy de la Feuilliez, CJE, Norris’ rep, said that growing the yearbook program did not happen during regular business hours and that joining JEA, CSPA and FSPA fueled their growth, culminating in two students being named the Todd C. Smith Scholastic Journalist of the Year for the state of Florida.

“Bridgette’s students are confident that they have a voice because she not only allows it, but demands it, and gets the best from each young journalist in her room. Each time I visit her, I am in awe of how she commands the room, how her students respect her, listen to her and absorb everything she teaches and then go out into the school and community and share their skills,” said de la Feuilliez. “It is truly remarkable what Bridgette has accomplished in her two years as an adviser, and I can only imagine how far her star will rise.”

Walsworth rep Lori Garcia echoed these sentiments and added how proud she was of Martinez.

“Vanessa has proven to be a force in the journalism community,” Garcia said. “She exudes love for her students and her passion as a teacher is contagious, yet she is humble and the kindest person I know. There are so many qualities to be admired about Vanessa; she is a wonderful example of a true El Pasoan and makes us all proud.”

To qualify for the JEA Rising Star, recipients of the award must be within their first five years as a student journalism adviser, demonstrate commitment to scholastic journalism as well show a proven track record of achievement within at least one of their media programs. You can read more about each of the advisers by visiting the JEA website.

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Jenica Hallman, CJE
Jenica Hallman, CJE

Jenica Hallman, CJE, is an Associate Copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks. Yearbooks got into her blood in high school, and she has been pursuing them ever since. She has worked in various capacities as a high school and college yearbook editor, an adviser, sales representative, plant customer service representative and now in marketing, her favorite role to date. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.