On Saturday, Feb. 20 The Leader won 15 awards for Elmhurst College including the first place prize for General Excellence out of all of the colleges in Illinois with under 4000 students. The editorial board of the newspaper, including some staff members, attended the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) competition in Chicago at the Double Tree hotel on the Magnificent Mile. The competition, which lasted for two days, included many different panels, discussions, and seminars aimed at providing guidance and advice for aspiring journalists.
In addition to First Place in General Excellence, The Leader also brought home three other First Place awards for Chrissy Croft’s opinion’s column, Vinnie Lotesto’s cartoon strips, and Nick Cegielski’s sports column.
Though Cegielski and Lotesto were not able to attend the competition, Lotesto did give his reaction to receiving so many awards for his cartoons.
“It was really surprising when I first heard about it from Chrissy,” he said in an interview. “It makes me feel like my cartoon-related work has merit.”
Lotesto had been the cartoonist for The Leader since Fall 2014, having graduated in Fall 2015, and also received Honorable Mention for his Editorial Cartoon as well as Second Place in the open category for his other cartoon strip.
While many other newspaper staffs at the competition merely clapped when their names were called for awards, The Leader upheld the tradition of being the loudest group in the room.
“I was proud to be part of a staff that supports each other,” said Opinons Editor Chrissy Croft. “Even if our cheering was obnoxious, it comes from the love we have for each other’s work.”
On Feb. 19, ICPA also hosted the Chicago Shootout, a photography competition where one photographer from each college was given three hours to traverse downtown Chicago and find a picture that best fits the theme given to them. This year’s theme was Love and Mia Harman, The Leader’s new Photo Editor, received Honorable Mention for her photograph of a heart-shaped headstone with a flower in the center.
“Just having the opportunity to participate was amazing,” said Harman. “Even though I didn’t win, I’m incredibly proud of the photo I took. On the bright side, there’s always next year.”
While Dr. Ron Wiginton, the previous faculty adviser to The Leader could not be in attendance due to his departure to Bulgaria over the summer, he expressed his happiness with the big win.
“I am now no longer surprised by The Leader’s success, but the legacy this newspaper has established remains very humbling to me personally,” Wiginton said in an email interview. “To be a good newspaper is what is now expected of The Leader, but to be consistently this good for so long is tremendously gratifying to me as a teacher and adviser.”