The Crimson - Small But Mighty

The Crimson - Small But Mighty
Posted on 11/13/2023
BHS Journalism Students

On October 30, 2023, Bernards High School journalism students attended Fall Press Day at Rutgers University on Busch Campus. It was a highly anticipated event with over 600 New Jersey high school students and their advisers in attendance, eagerly waiting to see how their hard work ranked in the eyes of the Garden State Scholastic Press Association (GSSPA).

The GSSPA is a non-profit organization advocating for student journalism. As part of their annual contest, high school journalism is evaluated in 27 different categories each summer.  Students across the state can submit multiple pieces for scoring, a task they take seriously in order to select what represents their best articles from the prior school year. Once the scores are compiled, the totals reveal an overall excellence placement in addition to other recognition, in areas such as podcasting or social media. 

At the 2023 Fall Press Day, the Crimson was awarded 2nd place in overall excellence which is quite an honor, magnified by the fact that Bernards High School is a smaller high school, with a smaller journalism staff.  “I am beyond proud of what our student journalists produce every year, and to be able to witness their confidence and growth is a gift. Their motivation and dedication, coupled with their compassion and integrity is incredibly impressive,” said Heather Hunkele who has been the BHS Journalism Adviser for the Crimson since 2008 and is nationally recognized as a Certified Journalism Educator (CJE).

In addition to receiving accolades at the GSSPA conference, students are able to attend workshops that are designed to highlight a variety of journalism topics such as media ethics, AP style, the art of political coverage, and more. Budding journalists benefit from keynote speakers leading panel discussions; their focus is on facets of the profession and honing one’s craft.  Students are also able to meet with peers, from counties throughout the state, to discuss the joys and challenges of covering current events and writing for a varied audience. They also enjoy trading papers from their respective high schools, thus creating a positive networking experience and often forging new relationships.

The ways in which society gathers, digests, and shares information on local, national, and global levels continues to evolve. And many feel that terms such as media, press, and reporting have taken on new meaning. That said, it is refreshing to know that students such as the BHS Crimson staff are interested in the pursuit of delivering news with fairness and accuracy, while adapting to an ever changing landscape of journalism.

“We believe that world class educators put students in the positions to succeed and demonstrate their skills and progress.  Benefitting from Mrs. Hunkele’s leadership over the past 15 years, a generation of Bernards High School students have thrived in the journalism program. We are so pleased that our students have excelled in deep and broad ways and look forward to following their progress this year and beyond,” said Dr. Brian Brotschul, Superintendent of Schools.

The Crimson online can be found at and through the download of the Student News Source App on Apple/Android devices.


Congratulations to the staff of the Crimson for the following Journalism and Media Awards: 

Overall Excellence: 

Print: 2nd Place: Bernards High School

Online: Honorable Mention: Bernards High School

Podcast: Honorable Mention: Bernards High School- Matt Lesnik*, Spencer Saltz, Matt Mariani and Ari Rosen

Social Media Presence: Honorable Mention: Bernards High School

New Voices:  Division B: Honorable Mention: Bernards High School- Lucinda Putnam - “State of NJ passes New Voices Law” 

Newswriting: 4th: Bernards High School- Sydney Kaul* - “Board of Education meets to discuss February agenda and actionable items” and 5th: Bernards High School- Sydney Kaul* - “Interim Superintendent begins stint at SHSD”

Sportswriting: 5th: Bernards High School: Finn Vaccaro - “Three juniors commit to D1 colleges for lacrosse” 

Opinion writing: 4th: Bernards High School: Ava Highland- “Schools and libraries deserve greater freedoms with book selections” 

Reviews: 3rd: Bernards High School: Morgan Sikes- Review of Tim Burton’s “Wednesday”  

Photography: 2nd: Bernards High School: Ari Rosen- “Baseball team makes it to state tournament” 

Layout/Design: 6th: Bernards High School: Jane Holmes*- “College applications process creates stress for class of 2023”  and 7th: Bernards High School: Ava Highland- “Entertainment page” 


Students in attendance at the conference: 

Ava Highland

Matt Mariani

Madison Ferruggia

Ari Rosen

Rose Costello

Claire Taylor


2022-2023 Crimson Staff: 

Editors-in-Chief: Jane Holmes*, Sydney Kaul*, Matt Lesnik*, Meghan Shelley*

Opinion Editors: Scarlett Campbell*, Charlotte Zaun, Ella Patel

News Editors: Madison Ferruggia, Summer Schnabolk*, Sophia Vascellaro*

Feature Editors:  Alexa Paterno

Sports Editors: Matt Mariani, Spencer Saltz, Finn Vaccaro

Entertainment Editors: Gianna Galesi, Olivia Guyet*, Ava Highland

Staff: Soren Austenberg, Jake Ballard*, Taejin Beckerman*, Lila Beckerman, Julian Bonk, Victoria Brothers*, Ben Costales, Rose Costello, Maggie Dolan*, Greg Ferreira*, Sophia Ford*, Rajan Gandhi, Julia Hass, Juliette Moro, Lucinda Putnam, Ari Rosen, Kilian Schlager, Caitlyn Sebastian*, Garrett Senior, Elizabeth Simpson*, Spencer Sorge, Maria Stephani, Lauren Sullivan, Emma Swope, Claire Taylor, Alex Vaccaro, Abbie Zarin, Payton Zaun

*indicates Crimson alumni

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