Senior Rebecca Waterson and junior Ming Zhu were recognized on April 9 by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. (Photos by Emma Boersma)

Two Octagon staffers earn awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association

Senior Rebecca Waterson and junior Ming Zhu received recognition on April 9 from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) for writing published during the 2018-19 school year. 

Both won Gold Circle Awards, which recognize superior work by student journalists, according to the CSPA website. 

The national competition attracted 5,757 digital media and yearbook entries published from Oct. 2, 2018, through Oct. 1, 2019, in 91 categories. 

Waterson received second place for her blogs, and Zhu earned third place in news writing for his story on Rick Singer, the man at the center of the college admissions bribery scandal.

Waterson said she was surprised that she won an award and added that it made her day.

“I used to be on the Octagon my freshman year, but I had too much on my plate,” Waterson said. “Because I had written a book before, the previous Octagon adviser recommended that I should write blogs.

“What makes my blogs so unique is that I show readers the world of competitive swimming, something which I assume most of my readers don’t know about. There are not a lot of blogs out there that touch on the balance of school and high-level swimming.

“I get my inspiration from major events going on in the real world or in the swim world, and I try to post monthly or bimonthly.”

Zhu said he believes his article was chosen because of its local angle. 

“In a journalism aspect, we were really fortunate that the school had such a close connection to a relevant topic,” Zhu said. “Every good news story has good interviews, which I had. The students I talked to personally met with him, and the previous head of school talked about his involvement as a (former Country Day boys basketball coach).”

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