Coverage of social inclusion issues on campus, prospective closure of Palo Alto's Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, last November's election and school safety in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings has won Gunn High School's student newspaper finalist status in a national journalism contest.
Judges from the Miami Herald chose Gunn's "The Oracle" among nine finalists for the Pacemaker Award given by the National Scholastic Press Association.
A staff of 54 students led by editor Catalina Zhao produces the newspaper, which publishes nine or ten 16- to 28-page issues a year. The work is supported by advertisements and $45-a-year mail subscriptions.
Zhao and The Oracle's faculty adviser Kristy Blackburn, a Gunn English teacher, shared news of the contest with the Palo Alto Board of Education Tuesday night.
Zhao discussed coverage and displayed front pages of some of The Oracle's award-winning issues.
Blackburn said the student paper has entered the contest each year in the 10 years she's been the adviser and this is the first time they've made the finals.
"We're really happy to be recognized for our work," she said. "We'll find out (which paper won first place) in a couple of weeks."