For 30 years, Becky Tate has been instilling the fundamentals of journalism and storytelling to students at SM North. Last week, she found out her great skills as an educator were being recognized at the national level.
Representatives of the Journalism Education Association surprised Tate in class on Thursday with the news that she was the organization’s 2019 H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year. Charla Harris, a journalism teacher at Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas and recipient of the honor last year, was on hand at SM North Thursday to deliver the news. In addition to a $500 award that can be used to fund equipment or training for students and a $1,000 personal prize, Tate will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville in April.
To be considered for the award, advisers must submit an application to JEA. In its review of her application and tenure at the school, JEA said Tate has transformed the school’s journalism program and helped students produce annual yearbooks will stand the test of time.
Additionally, her students lauded her for setting high standards while creating a welcoming environment.
“She takes the time to find a space for every student who enters her classroom, finding what they are good at and giving them tools to succeed,” Tucker Love, a former student, wrote in the application. “Her room is a place for kids to struggle and succeed, as part of their entire development into young adults.”
For her part, Tate said she’s loved watching students embrace the community’s diversity and reflect it in their work.
“One of my favorite moments was watching a student reporter interview another student about her quinceañera,” Tate said in her application. “They started the interview in English, but quickly turned to Spanish when the reporter recognized the language was a barrier to the story and switched to the student’s native language.”
Tate’s husband Dow is the journalism adviser at SM East. The couple have a daughter who attends SM Northwest.