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Flagler students earn 3 National SPJ Mark of Excellence awards

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May 1, 2013

Two Flagler College Gargoyle editors and an Advanced Reporting class student won national awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition, including a first place finish for opinion writing. This marks the first time a Flagler student has earned a national SPJ award.

Phil Grech was named national winner for Online Opinion and Commentary in the small school division. Sarah Williamson is a national finalist in Feature Photography. Lauren Ely's piece from Flagler College Associate Professor Communication Helena Sarkio's Advanced Reporting class is a national finalist in Online Feature Reporting. All three pieces were published in The Gargoyle, Flagler's online-only student newspaper.

"I am truly amazed by our success in this year's Mark of Excellence Awards," said Sarkio. "To have one national winner and two national finalists is an enormous accomplishment. The Communication Department's growing national reputation will be an excellent recruiting tool in the future."

Flagler students recently won 17 awards, including six first place finishes, in the Society of Professional Journalists' 2012 Mark of Excellence Awards for Region 3, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. All first place winners then went on to compete nationally.

"I have been amazed by what Flagler students accomplished this year. Winning three national awards is simply incredible, and it's the first time anyone at Flagler has won a national SPJ award. It's just another indication of the quality of Communication students here at the college," said Brian Thompson, adviser to The Gargoyle.

This year there were more than 4,600 entries in the competition.


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