Central's Newspaper Still Feels Editor's Presence

By Hartman, Kari | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 2, 2003 | Go to article overview

Central's Newspaper Still Feels Editor's Presence


Hartman, Kari, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kari Hartman Daily Herald Staff Writer

Naperville Central's student newspaper staff published its last issue of the year Friday - a milestone marked by relief and celebration.

Their work on the Central Times drew accolades again this year, but the emotions of the final issue far surpassed pride in a job well done.

It was a year of profound struggles and bonding, a year of emotional turmoil and a year of achievement by determined teenagers.

It was a year in which they succeeded even as they grieved for their editor-in-chief, a classmate killed in a car crash.

Like most years, the Central Times earned its share of national awards.

The newspaper won, for instance, Best of Show at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association National High School Journalism Convention in November. In April, the staff received the Northern Illinois School Press Association's Golden Eagle trophy. Individual editors took home awards from both contests.

But the achievements came in the face of tragedy.

Editor-in-chief Zach Clifton died in a Valentine's Day car crash. Amid their grief, staff members persevered and put out an issue soon after his death.

Though Clifton is physically gone from the journalism room at Central, students say his spirit is still there every day.

Student editors often think of stories that would have made Clifton proud or suggestions he might have offered for a page.

His picture appeared in the final edition of the Central Times and his name still heads the staff list; his title is editor-in- chief/inspiration. …

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