For more than a decade, Rod Satterthwaite has led Dexter High School's journalism program to countless awards. On Saturday, Satterthwaite himself will be recognized by his peers at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association convention in San Antonio.
Satterthwaite, the faculty adviser for The Squall, the high school's student newspaper, was nominated for the Distinguished Advisor Award through the Dow Jones Newspaper Teacher of the Year competition.
“I think it's a great honor because the judging panel is a pretty prestigious group of people,” Satterthwaite said. “I'm sure there are a lot of great advisers who applied, so to be classified as distinguished is pretty exciting.”
He said he was encouraged to apply for the award by Dexter Principal Kit Moran, who also provided a letter of recommendation. Two other letters were provided by Cheryl Pell from the Michigan State University School of Journalism and Candace Bowen from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Satterthwaite also had to provide copies of the DHS paper and answer a series of questions in order to be considered for the award.
“They want to know about your personal accomplishments, students' awards, ways you've contributed to scholastic journalism, your stance on student first amendment rights,” he said.
DHS Principal William "Kit" Moran said he was thrilled to nominate Satterthwaite.
"Rod is an outstanding educator in many ways. He inspires students, teaches students, yet allows them the room to grow in the positions of student journalists," Moran said.
In his nominating letter, Moran said Satterthwaite has been known to inspire students in each of his classes.
"Perhaps what matters more than any of the academic influences Rod has is that he cares enough to develop outstanding relationships with students. From students in Introduction to Journalism to third year newspaper students, they all know they can count on 'Satt' to support them, help them through a tough spot, and give them confidence to succeed. He is exceptional at this," Moran wrote.
Satterthwaite's additional awards during his career include the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Distinguished Reporting in 1998, and the Golden Pen Award through the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. He was named to the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association Hall of Fame in 2012.
Satterthwaite said working with Dexter’s aspiring journalists is a joy. As for his future plans, he said he would like to continue teaching students and inspiring others to follow their dreams.
“I think my favorite part of my job is getting students to believe in themselves and newspaper is a great class for that because there are so many different outlets and possibilities for kids to find their passion," he said.