Blueprint Staff Wins Recognition for Excellence in Journalism

By Juliet Becker, Online Editor-in-Chief

// This year, Blueprint received 36 awards and recognitions from the county-wide Dean S. Lesher Foundation, California-wide CA Press Women’s Communication, nationwide Quill and Scroll, and nationwide Journalism Education Association (JEA).

   Most notably, Blueprint tied for third place for Overall Excellence in Contra Costa County with Miramonte High School’s Mirador and received second place in Overall Website Design Excellence. 

   Blueprint’s writers and editors also won a variety of individual awards. Some standouts include Head Section Editor and junior Marisa Guerra Echeverria, who won the Lesher Foundation’s Student Editor of the Year award and placed third for the Foundation’s Scholarship Journalist award.

   “I am definitely surprised and really grateful for winning these awards,” Guerra Echeverria said. “As for the [scholarship], I definitely feel honored and proud. I made the decision to apply [for the scholarship] kind of last minute and I wasn’t sure I’d get it, but I am so glad I did. There are so many talented journalists in our country and I’m really happy to be included.”

   Blueprint’s graphics staff achieved massive success this year, with Graphics Manager and junior Mara Korzeniowska winning first place for the Lesher Foundation’s Photo Portfolio award and first place for the Foundation’s Editorial Cartoon award.

   “It was really rewarding to see a professional photographer’s feedback for some of my pieces. I was excited to see that [the judge] picked up on the symbolism and underlying messages of the Gender Issue Cover. It feels amazing to get recognition for all of the hard work I’ve done over this year and I’m so glad people responded well to my work. It’s encouraging and I’m so grateful for their recognition,” Korzeniowska said.

   Additionally, Blueprint staff members won awards for their contributions to Blueprint outside of writing and graphic design. Online Content Manager, Social Media Manager, and junior Gabi Gruber placed second for JEA’s Arts and Entertainment Video award for her video series, Gruber’s Grubs. Print Sports Editor and sophomore Henry Hagel and Podcast and Video Content Manager and sophomore Gus McKinney also placed third for the Lesher Foundation’s Podcast award for their sports podcast, Kicking and Screaming.

   “I’m honored to be recognized for my work this year, especially since it’s for something which I really enjoy doing. Making Gruber’s Grubs for the last few months has taken a lot of creativity, patience, and time, but it’s also been a lot of fun. I’m glad that people appreciate the end product,” Gruber said.

   Blueprint’s advisors celebrate this year’s successes and attribute the organization’s achievements to its culture beyond the paper product.

   “While Blueprint’s success has a lot to do with stunning graphics and excellent writing, I think anyone on staff would say that our success has more to do with our traditions, our respect for one another, and our strong community,” Blueprint Advisor Natalie Moore said.

Here is a complete list of awards:


  • First Place Breaking News – Brendan Connelly
  • Second Place Arts and Entertainment Video – Gabi Gruber
  • Honorable Mention Feature Video – Keith Johnson
  • Honorable Mention News Story – Val Penati and Kea Yoshinaka
  • Honorable Mention News Magazine Cover Design – Freschtta Warres
  • Honorable Mention Review Writing – Lulu Levy
  • Honorable Mention Sports Story – Julia Poole, Sabrina Agazzi, and Grace Chehlaoui
  • Honorable Mention Sports Story – Griffin Ruebner, Zubin Acuña, and Justin Law

CA Press Women’s Communication:

  • First Place Sports – Griffin Ruebner
  • Second Place Sports – Julia Poole, Sabrina Agazzi, and Grace Chehlaoui
  • Second Place Sports – Griffin Ruebner
  • Second Place Sports – Griffin Ruebner, Zubin Acuña, and Justin Law
  • Third Place News – Brendan Connelly
  • Third Place News – Grace Chehlaoui and Ben Brekke
  • Third Place Opinion – Catherine Lomond
  • Honorable Mention Review – Melina Nath


  • First Place Investigative News – Melina Nath, Natalie Hiatt, and El Reid
  • First Place Feature – Zach Snyder, Zack Lara, Helen O’Neal, and Saylen Cardoni
  • First Place Editorial Cartoonist – Mara Korzeniowska
  • First Place Photo Portfolio – Mara Korzeniowska
  • Second Place Web Design – Maristella Heo and Kayli Harley
  • Second Place Arts – Lulu Levy
  • Second Place Opinion – Juliana Upp and Zach Snyder
  • Second Place Photo Portfolio – Graham Klingler
  • Third Place Overall Excellence – Acalanes Blueprint
  • Third Place Paper Design – Sabrina Agazzi, Mara Korzeniowska, and Emma Uffelman
  • Third Place Scholarship Journalist – Marisa Guerra Echeverria
  • Third Place Editorial – Erin Hambidge
  • Third Place Illustration – Freschtta Warres
  • Third Place Podcast – Henry Hagel and Gus McKinney
  • Honorable Mention Illustration and Graphics – Jacqueline Kuhner
  • Student Editor of the Year – Marisa Guerra Echeverria

Quill and Scroll

  • Sweepstakes Climate and Environmental Writing – Catherine Lomond, Erin Hambidge, Marisa Guerra Echeverria, and Lyanne Wang
  • Honorable Mention News – Zach Snyder, Ben Brekke, and Henry Hagel
  • Honorable Mention Feature – Erin Hambidge, Natalie Hiatt, and August Walker

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