2000 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for John Tagliareni
Our honoree has advised the Bear Facts, the student newspaper at Bergenfield High School in Bergenfield, New Jersey for 27 years. Bear Facts has been awarded the Garden State Award from the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, the Award for General Excellence from the New Jersey Press Association and CSPA’s Gold Medalist and All-Columbian Honors.
In addition to being adviser at Bergenfield, he has judged student newspapers for national critique services. He has also served as president for the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, which awarded him its Golden Quill Award for Distinguished Service in 1984. In that same year the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund selected him as one of its Distinguished Advisers from across the nation.
An activist in promoting student press rights in his state, he appeared before the New Jersey Assembly Education Committee to testify in favor of a bill to remove the restrictions placed on the student press by the Hazelwood decision. He persuaded the state’s major teacher organization, his own union, to overcome its initial objections to the bill. He also convinced the state’s association of high school principals to change their position from opposition to neutrality. Thanks to these efforts, the bill passed the State Assembly and made it through the Senate Education Committee, only to die in a rush to last minute adjournment in partisan turmoil. Election results removed the majority that had formed for the bill thereafter but the near-success of the effort was breathtaking in its boldness.
In all of this effort his dedication to teaching his students has remained impressive, both in its sincerity and its success. Apart from his service in helping rebuild the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, he has avoided offices in other organizations, citing the press of work with his students, more than 30 of who accompany him to this Convention. He is most proud of them, and of their accomplishments. The Bear Facts is theirs, not his, he has always maintained. But the standards he sets are high, and he trains them to meet those standards.
The New York Times joins with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in honoring the achievements of John Tagliareni by presenting him with the Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching.
This citation was written and presented by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Association.