Return to Headlines

Kirkwood High School Pioneer Yearbook Named Pacemaker Finalist 

The National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) named the 2022-23 Pioneer yearbook a Pacemaker Finalist. The Pioneer is one of 56 publications and one of 47 high school yearbooks that were selected. Of those finalists, 27 yearbooks will earn Pacemaker awards and those will be announced in April.  


The full announcement from NSPA is included below or can be viewed online here

NSPA names ‘best of the best’

Pacemaker competition recognizes 56 yearbook finalists for journalistic excellence

The nation’s top scholastic yearbooks were recognized by National Scholastic Press Association, which announced 56 finalists in its annual Pacemaker competition. 


“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” Executive Director Laura Widmer said. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”


Pacemaker finalists will be honored and will receive plaques during the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in Kansas City, Missouri. 


Pacemaker winners will be announced for the first time at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the convention’s awards ceremony.


The NSPA Pacemaker, one of the oldest awards for scholastic journalism, has a rich tradition. The association started presenting the prestigious award to high school newspapers soon after the organization was founded in 1921. Throughout the years, yearbooks, magazines, online sites, broadcast programs and innovation were added to the competition. 


“The yearbooks selected as Pacemaker finalists represent strong visual and verbal storytelling. The judges were highly selective, recognizing approximately 20 percent of the entries,” Associate Director Gary Lundgren said.


Two teams of three judges devoted three days to the judging and studied every entry, discussing its strengths. The status of each entry was agreed upon by at least two of the three judges. In Pacemaker competition, the yearbooks compete against each other and are not scored on a rubric. 


The high school yearbooks competed in categories based on the number of pages — 340 or more pages, 339-296 pages, 295-240 pages, 239 or fewer pages. Junior high/middle school yearbooks of all page counts complete in a category.


When the process was completed, 56 finalists were named representing the top 18 percent of all entries. In April, 27 yearbooks will earn Pacemaker awards — representing the top 9 percent.


Of the 56 finalists, nine are from junior/high and middle schools with 47 from high schools.


Yearbooks from 17 states earned Pacemaker-finalist status. Texas set the pace with nine finalists, followed by Florida with eight and Kansas with six.


Collegiate yearbook Pacemaker finalists will be announced by the Associated College Press, the NSPA collegiate organization, in January.


Written comments from the judges about each of the 27 Pacemaker-winning yearbooks will be shared in April as part of an NSPA Pacemaker Master Class. The webinar will include an interview with the judges, and a presentation showcasing the yearbooks will be available for download for classroom use. Selected Pacemaker-winning yearbooks will also be available for download for study and inspiration.