The National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) has honored St. Mark’s journalism instructor and advisor Ray Westbrook with its Pioneer Award. The Pioneer Award is the highest honor NSPA awards to journalism educators. Recipients of this award are individuals who make substantial contributions to high school journalism programs and scholastic journalism education outside their primary employment.
“From one class of six students to a thriving program with as many as 120 Upper Schoolers, it has been gratifying to see my students’ work contribute to the fabric of relevant, issue-driven discussions that come about when our newspapers are distributed,” Mr. Westbrook said.
Under his leadership, St. Mark’s publications have been consistent winners of the highest awards from the NSPA and other national student publication organizations. The ReMarker student newspaper, Focus magazine, and Marksmen yearbook have each received numerous Pacemaker Awards from the NSPA and Gold Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The Journalism Education Association has named Marksmen as its Texas High School Journalist of the Year for eight consecutive years (2013-2020), including the national winner in 2019. Ray currently holds the Gene & Alice Oltrogge Master Teaching Chair.
“Not only is he an amazing journalism instructor, but he has been a mentor and a friend to me,” said Robert Pou ’21, who serves as the editor of The ReMarker newspaper and is a contributing editor to Focus. “Mr. Westbrook has worked so hard his entire career, so hard at St. Mark’s the past 20 years, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than him.”
“I take immense pride in my boys’ work — in all three publications — but I am most proud of the fact that ‘my guys’ turn out to be good men who live quality lives filled with meaningful careers and a strong commitment to serving others,” Mr. Westbrook said.
Mr. Westbrook was one of only four educators nationwide to be recognized with the Pioneer Award this year. Candidates are nominated by previous Pioneer winners and NSPA board members.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.
St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.