Category Archives: Publications

McLean’s publications staffs earn top state and national awards


Posted on May 20, 2016 by

Student journalists from the yearbook and newsmagazine staffs celebrate their Crown Awards at Columbia University in March.

Student journalists from the yearbook and newsmagazine staffs celebrate their Crown Awards at Columbia University in March.

It’s been a busy spring for McLean’s publications staffs!

McLean’s Clan Yearbook was recognized by the National Scholastic Press Association with the Pacemaker Award. The Clan was one of just 42 high school yearbooks to earn this distinction. The Clan was also awarded a Silver Crown from CSPA.

McLean’s Highlander Newsmagazine was recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association with a Gold Crown. The Highlander was one of just 16 magazines in the world (one of the winners was from Hong Kong) to earn CSPA’s top prize. The Highlander was also an NSPA Pacemaker Finalist.

At the Virginia Association Of Journalism Teachers and Advisers J-Day on Saturday, April 23, McLean’s yearbook, The Clan, won first place in the yearbook Best of Show competition.

In the J-Day Write-Off Competitions, the following McLean students were recognized:


2nd place: Lama Al Rajih

Caption Writing

2nd place: Sania Shahid

Editorial Writing

1st place: Ashwin Dasgupta

Feature Writing

1st place: Liam Zeya


1st place: Bryan Chung

News Writing

2nd place: Siddarth Shankar

3rd place: Melanie Pincus

Sports Writing

1st place: John Corvari

2nd place: Haru Kato


Honorable Mention: Samantha Taherian

The Highlander newsmagazine named Pacemaker finalist


Posted on September 15, 2015 by

I’m pleased to share with you that McLean’s newsmagazine, The Highlander, is one of just 16 newsmagazines nationwide to be announced as a Pacemaker finalist! The staff of The Highlander is also the only news staff in the state of Virginia (newspaper OR newsmagazine) to make the finalist list.

Since 1927, the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism’s highest honor. In November, adviser Lindsay Benedict and her staff will find out at the National Scholastic Press Association conference in Orlando if they have won a Pacemaker – but just making it on the finalist list is a tremendous accomplishment!


Thank you for a great year, Highlanders!


Posted on June 19, 2015 by

Today, June 19th, marked the last day of the 2014-2015 school year.  This school year, our students have found success in and out of the classroom.  I have enjoyed sharing the many accolades our students and staff received over the course of the year here on Reilly’s Raves, and I can’t wait to continue with it next year.

This year’s graduating class is well-prepared to take on the next challenges in their lives.

*The Class of 2015 has 8 National Merit Finalists.

*As a class, 95% will be attending a post-secondary institution, 6 students will attend U.S. Service Academies, 5 students will enter the United States Armed Forces, and 2.3% will enter the workforce and engage in other activities to determine their future goals.

*This year’s class will be matriculating to 137 colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad.

*The Class of 2015 has been offered and accepted over 8.1 million dollars in scholarships.

A special thanks to our PTSA officers: Elia Femia, Alison Senold, Sophia Bruner, Kirsten Huber, Jeannie Thomas, and Laura Przypyszny.  Their continued support of our students and teachers remains appreciated by all.  Also, thank you to Beth Raymond and Jen Herzberg for organizing our faculty luncheons, and to the Abi-Najm family for providing the staff a delicious end of the year lunch from Lebanese Taverna.  Finally, I’d like to thank all of the parents and students who made special treats and brought food Friday mornings. The staff truly appreciates your generosity and thoughtfulness.

During the summer, I will send updates about the opening of school as the date draws near. Students who have graduated will be removed from receiving Keep In Touch messages and rising freshmen will be added during the summer. To add or remove your email address from a school, go to   Please check the McLean High School website for updated information, and I will send out KIT messages to keep you informed.

On behalf of the faculty and staff at McLean High School, we wish everyone a safe and relaxing summer!

Journalism students/publications/advisers receive state, national awards


Posted on April 22, 2015 by

McLean’s journalism programs were well represented at the National Scholastic Press Association/Journalism Education Association Convention in Denver this past weekend.

  • +In the Best of Show competition (Yearbooks 289 – 336 Pages), The Clan yearbook won Fourth Place.
  • +In the NSPA Design of the Year Competition, The Highlander newsmagazine editors Julia Al-Akkad and Andrea Delgado won Fourth Place for their Infographic Design.
  • +In the write-off competitions, four students brought home awards:
    •      -Sajanee Chithranjan received a Superior rating in the Yearbook Copy/Caption: Clubs category.
    •      -Aisha Singh received an Excellent rating for Review Writing.
    •      -Carlyn Kranking received an Honorable Mention for Newswriting.
    •      -Kelly Oler received an Honorable Mention in the Yearbook Copy/Caption: Student Life category.
  • +Lindsay Benedict, adviser of The Highlander and WMHS News, received a Rising Star Award for her accomplishments with her journalism students and publications.


We also had a great showing at the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers’ Journalism Day (jDay) on April 10 and 11.

  • +Meghan Percival, adviser of The Clan, was honored with the Thomas Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Education.
  • +Broadcast journalism student Lama Al Rajih won first place in the Broadcast competition.
  • +Broadcast journalism student Samantha Taherian won third place for Feature Photography.
  • +Yearbook staffer Meryl Menezes won first place for Caption Writing.
  • +Newsmagazine staff members won the following awards:
    •      -Ashwin Dasgupta, first place in Editorial Writing
    •      -Melanie Pincus, second place in Newswriting
    •      -Christine Cheon, third place in Newswriting
    •      -Eleanor Patrick, first place in Editorial Cartooning
    •      -Bryan Chung, second place in Editorial Cartooning

McLean yearbook receives top honor from Columbia Scholastic Press Association


Posted on March 27, 2015 by

I am pleased to share with you that the 2014 Clan yearbook staff earned a Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The award was announced at the scholastic journalism convention in New York City last weekend. McLean’s yearbook was one of just 21 high school yearbooks from across the country to earn this top honor. Congratulations to adviser Meghan Percival and her phenomenal yearbook staff!

Yearbook receives VHSL Savedge Award


Posted on October 22, 2014 by

The McLean yearbook, led by adviser Meghan Percival, earned the Charles E. Savedge Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholastic Journalism from VHSL, which indicates the yearbook received at least five Trophy Class ratings within a seven year period. Keep up the excellent work, yearbook staff!

McLean Media celebrates multiple finalists in VHSL Multimedia Contest


Posted on September 25, 2014 by

Congratulations to the many VHSL Multimedia Contest finalists from our McLean Media team! Winners will be announced at the regional competition on Oct. 6.

Broadcast Journalism/WMHS News:

  • News Package: Annie Schroeder & MJ Abdul-Ali for “Pilobolus Dance Company”
  • News Package: Alex Wassel & Avery Madore for “Catch Me If You Can”
  • Feature Package: Samia Bouafia, Dinanda Pramesti & Louise Svetoft for “McDance-A-Thon”
  • Sports Package: Natalie Marciel & Kayla Waysome for “Lucas Lotta”
  • Sports Package: Lizzy Brown-Kaiser & Anna Campion for “Jackie Green”



  • Concept Packaging: Staff
  • Student Life Coverage: Yande Thiaw & Kelly Oler
  • Clubs and Organization Coverage: Aly Babyak & Mehret Lakew
  • Sports Coverage: Isabelle Wyerman
  • Sports Coverage: Yande Thiaw & Kelly Oler
  • People Coverage: Elia D’Ermes & Ana Garvin
  • People Coverage: Elia D’Ermes
  • People Coverage: Ana Garvin, Madiha Gill & Danielle Wyerman
  • Candid Photo: Ana Garvin
  • Candid Sports Photo: Shari Doiron
  • Candid Sports Photo: Shari Doiron
  • Advertising: Nikki Slade & Elena Karakozoff
  • Advertising: Nikki Slade & Elena Karakozoff
  • Advertising: Nikki Slade & Elena Karakozoff
  • Infographics: Isabelle Wyerman
  • Infographics: Kacey Beckham & Grace Fabrycky


Journalism/The Highlander Newsmagazine:

  • Straight News/News Feature: Grace Murray & Borna Khoshand for “McLean staff informs community of potential changes”
  • Sports News: John Corvari for “Crew attends national championship”
  • Human Interest/Personality Feature: Sonia Deana for “Coaching with the big boys”
  • In-Depth/Informative Feature: Hannah Menchel & Maddy Witchey for “McLean under pressure”
  • In-Depth/Informative Feature: Julia Al-Akkad & Andrea Delgado for “Past the breaking point”
  • Editorials Feature: Staff for “Second quarter should have been extended”
  • Bylined Personal Opinion/Column: Max Adler & Brian Henderson for “The SAT is S-A-Terrible”
  • Review: Mark Mizusawa for “Living and Dying in Dark Souls 2”
  • Review: Karim Doumar & Aidan Barringer for “Annie dresses audience with a smile”
  • Review: Elena Ifarraguerri & Nhi Nguyen for “Who wins the froyo face-off?”
  • News/Feature Photo: Allen Harris for “Dr. Bear visits McLean”
  • News/Feature Photo: Andrew Opem for “Dogeify”
  • Sports Photo: Allen Harris for “Catching in the cradle”
  • Sports Photo: Allen Harris for “Anna Buser”
  • Advertising: Mark Mizusawa for Front Step
  • Advertising: Mark Mizusawa for Ledo Pizza
  • Newsmagazine Cover: Andrea Delgado for the February 2014 issue
  • Infographics/Secondary Packaging: Julia Al-Akkad for “Sleep from A to Zzz”


Yearbook wins prestigious Pacemaker award


Posted on April 24, 2014 by

The National Scholastic Press Association recently awarded the 2013 Clan Yearbook with a Yearbook Pacemaker, considered by many to be scholastic journalism’s highest honor. McLean  was one of only 24 high schools nationwide to receive this award. Congratulations to Meghan Percival and her yearbook staff, and thank you for creating such a wonderful publication that students will cherish for years to come.

Yearbook and The Highlander Online are National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker finalists


Posted on March 14, 2014 by

I’m pleased to share with you that McLean’s yearbook is one of just 50 high school yearbooks nationwide to be announced as a Pacemaker finalist, and The Highlander Online at is one of just 28 high school news websites in the country to be declared a Pacemaker finalist. Since 1927, the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism’s highest honor.

Congratulations to yearbook adviser Meghan Percival, The Highlander Online/Newsmagazine adviser Lindsay Benedict, and all of the hard-working journalists we have at McLean!