Student Newsletter Earns Double 'Wave' of Awards

January 05, 2016

Ask students about who likes to win an award, and nearly every hand will go up in the air. Whether for academics, physical education, citizenship or creativity, students respond enthusiastically when their name is called to receive an award.

"The Wave" student newsletter won Best Newsletter and the Reger Smith Cutting Edge Award from the Society of Adventist Communicators. Since the awards presentation, the awards statue and certificates toured all three schools associated with the newsletter entered for awards.

“My kids loved reading all the articles (particularly in the BV issue),” says Nikki Kiger, a parent at Buena Vista Adventist Elementary in Auburn. “They loved recognizing names of fellow students. To see their work 'published' was a big deal to them.”

The First Wave

As a summer communication intern in 2014, Alix Harris dreamed up the idea of a newsletter featuring the writing, artwork and creativity of various elementary schools in western Washington. She called it “The Wave.”

Harris produced the first issue as an illustration of what schools could do. The schools loved the idea — and then did nothing for several months. Finally, grades kindergarten through eight at Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington developed a heart-themed issue for February 2015. Skagit’s example motivated Buena Vista, Cypress Adventist School in Lynnwood and additional schools to create newsletter content.

Eye-Catching Creativity

The judges noted how the elementary school student-produced newsletter features creative and eye catching artwork, design and stories. The closest comparison is the Adventist Review’s "KidsView" newsletter.

Each four-page issue is driven by the type and quantity of content schools submit. Student artwork, when available, is used to illustrate the issue. As schools produce content, Washington Conference provides the design and distribution. Teachers and students usually come up with their own content ideas usually associated with a curriculum unit.

Elementary students receive a hard copy of the newsletter to share with their parents and/or grandparents. Extra hard copies are shared with conference committees and with camp meeting attendees as a school marketing piece. As new issues are released, they are featured in Sailing with Jesus e-news, in which the cheerful "The Wave" issues continue to be chart-topping in the number of clicks from readers.

“I'm really proud of the students who submitted their creative work (both written and artistic) and the teachers who encourage this creative expression,” says Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference communication director. “The trailblazing by these three schools is inspiring additional schools to participate in this newsletter venture.”

See the full collection of "The Wave" issues at