2001 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for Kathleen Zwiebel
Our honoree’s name is synonymous with “Publication Adviser” in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where she advises several student publications including the yearbook, literary magazine, student newspaper (both printed and online versions), and the school district’s community newsletter. All of these publications have received state and national recognition including CSPA’s Crowns and Gold Medalists ratings.
In addition to being adviser at Pottsville High School, she has lent her services to scholastic press associations as a convention speaker, contest judge and committee chair. She has also served in several capacities and as curriculum development chair for the Journalism Education Association. Currently, she is serving as second vice president for convention planning for the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association. In 1998 the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund selected her as the National Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Her father and his work as a reporter encouraged her interest in journalism. She notes, “My father’s philosophy was, ‘As a female, you can do anything you set your mind to,’ which was pretty revolutionary for the time.”
She continues to follow that philosophy. When the revolution of desktop publishing began, she was determined to get a computer laboratory started for her students. Undaunted by the lack of money, she began with out-dated computers donated by her students, as they would upgrade their family computers. Then she solicited a $100,000 grant from her school district for a completely equipped desktop publishing lab. To keep the lab for student journalism during the academic year, she agreed to direct a summer computer camp and teach evening classes in desktop publishing for parents and members of the Pottsville community.
She has made the commitment that to teach journalism because she enjoys working with young people. “I love working with teens,” she says. “The thrill of working with them still energizes me. When it no longer does, that’s when I know I will have to get out of advising. But for now, they still knock me off my feet.”
The New York Times joins with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in honoring the achievements of Kathleen Zwiebel by presenting her 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.