Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.

2004 Paschal Citation

2004 James Frederick Paschal Award citation for Helen F. Smith

New England Scholastic Press Association

The James Frederick Paschal Award honors state or regional school press association officials who have distinguished themselves in the field with an award named for the late James Fredrick Paschal, a former director of the Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association and a former editor of the CSPAA Bulletin

Most everyone here probably knows the name Helen Smith. Her name is on nearly every CSPA publication having to do with newspapers. She is the adviser to the award winning Newtonite at Newton North High School in Newtonville, Mass., and speaks regularly here at conventions, conferences and summer workshops.

What many of you may not be aware of is the other hat she wears, as she is also the executive director of the New England Scholastic Press Association.

She began her connection to Boston University's School of Public Communication by seeking advice from Prof. Robert Barum who founded NESPA at BU in 1948 and led it through 1995.

Prof. Baram was an inspiration to Helen. He encouraged her to speak at conferences and when he withdrew from his role as executive director in Jan. 1996, Smith volunteered to take over.

Since she became executive director, she has sent out a three times-a-year newsletter, established a system to award professional development points to Massachusetts advisers, started a special fall contest and continued to offer advisers workshop.

In 1997, NESPA joined the Student Press Law Center's amicus curiae brief in Yeo v. Town of Lexington and in 1998, established an award for excellence in advising in Prof. Baram's name.

Says Professor Norman Moyes, a journalism professor in Boston University's college of communication, "I have known few people more dedicated than Ms. Smith. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the 700 students who participate in her workshops and thanks to her hard work, they go off without a hitch."

She prepares for these workshops months ahead of time and consults with her Board of Directors to determine the best programs to be offered. She sets up the agenda, finds rooms, gets speakers and spends hours setting up the judging of high school newspapers, literary magazines, TV programs and yearbooks.

And to avoid any conflict of interest, doesn't submit her own publication

Last February, NESPA became an associate member of the New England Press Association and she became a board member because NEPA wants to attract more youth through NESPA.

The words of Professor Barum are those that Helen holds dearly when he said, "The scholastic press brings out into the fresh information air, news and comment that otherwise would be the province of only a few-ideas that without the scholastic press would never enter the environment of democracy."

Not only does she hold these words of Professor Barum to her heart, but practices them in her role.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association proudly presents the James Frederick Paschal Award for 2004 to Helen F. Smith.


Shirley Yaskin, chair of the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association's Honors Committee, read the citation during a special Awards Luncheon in the Faculty Room of Columbia's Low Memorial Library on March 19, 2004.