2011 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for Esther Wojciciki
For more than 25 years, Esther Wojcicki has labored to build a lasting high school journalism program of national stature. In this regard she is like so many other journalism teachers and faculty advisers present at this convention. From a small group of 20 students in 1985, she has shepherded the growth of journalism at Palo Alto High School into what is arguably the largest enrollment of any high school journalism in the country. More than 500 students participate with four teachers in publishing five student media both print and online.
But “Woj,” as she is popularly known at Paly, has taken the values and skills of a journalism teacher far beyond the four walls of her classroom and of her school. Her work in helping to develop the model of Google Certified Teachers has made her one of their early ambassadors for change, specifically charged to “model high expectations, life-long learning, equity & inclusion, and innovation.” As chair of the board of directors for Creative Commons, she has helped streamline that organization’s educational outreach and demonstrate the practical value of its easy to understand licensing of copyrighted material. Whether blogging for the Huffington Post or leading an innovative effort funded by the Knight Foundation to develop a 21st Century literary curriculum for ninth graders, Wojcicki continues to translate her success as a classroom teacher to ever wider audiences.
For her dedication to journalistic excellence, for her unwavering support of her students in their efforts at free and robust expression and for her continued willingness to teach the world of the intrinsic values of educating the creative minds all around us, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association is honored to present its Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching to Esther Wojcicki.
This citation was written by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and presented during the Advisers Awards luncheon on March 18, 2011 during CSPA's 87th annual Convention at Columbia University in New York City.