The CSPA seal. (Photo retrieved from

CSPA Gold Circle awards earned by five current, former Octagon staffers

This story was updated on Dec. 10 to clarify Paul Bauman’s time as adviser for the Octagon.

Five Country Day students earned journalism honors in the 2020 Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 37th Gold Circle Awards program. Their award-winning work was published by The Octagon.

Alumna Emma Boersma, ’20, won first place for her cartoon portfolio.

Alumna Héloïse Schep, ’20, won second place for her first person experience story, “Senior Returns to her Home in Netherlands, Encounters its ‘Intelligent’ Lockdown.”

“I thought my article would provide an interesting perspective, and thus the story might stand out,” Schep said. “This is my first time winning an award so I am very surprised and thankful toward the Octagon team for letting me submit it.”`

Alumna Rebecca Waterson, ’20, won second place for her blog, “Rebecca Waterson Blogs.” 

“I am very thankful for Mr. Bauman, all of the editors, and of course Mrs. Fels for all their help and support throughout each blog’s process,” Waterson said.

Paul Bauman took over as Octagon adviser early in the 2018-2019 school year, and he continued through the 2019-2020 school year. Patricia Fels advised the Octagon from the 1977-1978 school year to the 2017-2018 one.

Alumna Anna Frankel, ’20, won third place  for her editorial,  “Civics Class Needed to Raise Student Political Awareness.” 

“I had absolutely no idea that my article was going to win. It was a really nice surprise!” Frankel said. 

Senior Ming Zhu won third place in news writing for his article, “‘Something About Him Seemed Off’ — Four Seniors Met with Leader of College Admissions Scandal.”

Zhu also received a certificate of merit in the sidebar writing category for his article, “Professionals See Increase in Anxiety, Depression Due to Quarantine.”

I didn’t think I could win.” Zhu said. “To be completely honest, I forgot that my stories were submitted for a competition.”

From across the country, students submitted 5757 yearbook and digital media entries throughout 91 individual categories and 5194 news and magazine submissions throughout 86 categories. Entries were received from high-schoolers to university students all. 

In total, judges announced 656 winners from the yearbook and digital media entries and 629 winners from the print news and magazine entries.

— By William Holz

Print Friendly, PDF & Email