Seashore Wins 2016 Crown At Columbia University

crown award

LONG BRANCH, March 18 – Standing head to head with the best high school journalists in the world, students at The Seashore School in Long Branch, were recognized with the top award for student publishing issued by Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), an international student press association owned and operated by Columbia University.

Representing the nine-time award-winning newspaper Seashore Student Views, Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Rasnitsyn, Middletown, and Editorial Page Editor Joseph Shalom, Long Branch, were presented with a 2016 Silver Crown by CSPA Executive Director Edmund Sullivan at the Awards Convocation during the 92nd Scholastic Convention Friday, March 18 at Columbia University.

“Crown Awards are the highest recognition given to student print or digital medium for overall excellence,” Sullivan said. “The award is discretionary and is given to fewer than 20% of our nationwide membership after a lengthy judging process,” he told the packed Arledge Auditorium, with finalists from schools throughout America and as far away as Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and London.

This year, a total of 1,186 newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and digital publications issued during the 2014-2015 academic year were eligible for judging in the 2016 Crown Awards Program, according to Sullivan.

“Evaluated for excellence in design, photography, concept, coverage and writing, 199 Crowns were given to scholastic publications and 35 Crowns to collegiate publications,” Sullivan said.

Seashore was the only middle school in New Jersey and one of three in the USA to receive the honor. Listed among the winners at, the student newspaper also is included in a CD/DVD of award-winning work compiled by the judges as a standard in excellence to be shared with members worldwide.

“What makes this award even more distinctive is the winning issues of Seashore Student Views were produced by a first year staff with assistance from alumni advisor Jordan Semon, who had previously served as Editor-in-Chief,” journalism teacher/newspaper advisor Sharon Villapiano said.

“The first day of class, Joe Semon, who was later promoted to join Rasnitsyn as co-Editor-In-Chief, and Shalom (whose sister Elena was the editorial page editor before graduating) said they intended to earn Gold in Columbia’s annual Critique. The young staff’s drive and determination broke the school record — earning 2015 Gold Medallist Status, All Columbian Honors, two Gold Circle Awards and now the 2016 Crown.”

“Way to go. You set a goal, worked hard, surpassed all expectations and have been singled out among the best of the best by an Ivy League University. I am proud of you,” Seashore Principal John Villapiano said, commending Rasnitsyn, Shalom and faculty advisor (Sharon) Villapiano.

The Seashore School, which opened in 1974, is designed for families who want a smaller class size and more progressive curriculum than their town offers, at an affordable tuition. From preschool-eighth grade, the curriculum includes advanced foreign language, computers, science and swim lessons, along with training in dance, music, drama and art. The approach to education is so successful that students win academic competitions, score in the top percentile in standard exams, are recognized nationally for achievement and have gained acceptance into the high schools of their choice. For more information, call Admissions at 732-222-6464, visit or follow us on facebook, twitter or instagram at seashore_2016.

Caption: Student journalists were named 2016 Crown Winners for Seashore Student Views at an Awards Convocation at Columbia University March 18. Seashore was one of three middle schools in the USA and the only one in NJ to receive the highest award issued to student publications. Representing the nine time award-winning newspaper, Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Rasnitsyn (right) and Editorial Page Editor Joseph Shalom accepted the Crown alongside top journalists from as far away as Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and London.