By JOHN LEE
MADISON – St. Joseph Catholic School’s Terry Cassreino said being selected as National Broadcast Adviser of the Year was an unexpected honor that falls on not just himself, but his dedicated, hardworking students.
“This award is not about me,” Cassreino said. “It is about the hundreds of students I have had the privilege of teaching at St. Joe since I took over the high school journalism program in 2012. My students work very hard every day to produce high-quality products, and they made this honor possible.”
According to the Journalism Education Association (JEA), a program based out of Kansas City, The Broadcast Adviser of the Year program is designed to honor outstanding high school advisers and their exemplary work from the previous year, as well as throughout their careers.
JEA surprised Cassreino with the award on Monday during his Broadcast Journalism class. He received a $ 1,000 prize along with $500 to use for new equipment and tools students can use for future newscasts.
Additionally, Cassreino received a plaque and pin, an invitation to address journalism educators at the Fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, and a monthly column on JEADigitalMedia.org.
JEA selected Cassreino as Special Recognition Adviser in 2020, and a Distinguished Broadcast Adviser in 2022.
Since 2012, Cassreino has transformed St. Joe’s journalism program into a statewide powerhouse, with student-led products such as “Bruin News Now,” the school’s main newscast, “What’s Bruin at the Joe,” a sports show each Monday, “BNN Midweek Paws,” a news update every Wednesday, and live-streaming video of varsity football and basketball games along with radio broadcasts.
Cassreino said the students do the heavy lifting and work day in and day out to produce the program’s many news segments.
“I’m there to help, encourage, and inspire,” Cassreino said. “Some of my students may go into journalism, others may not. But they all leave learning valuable life skills that include speaking in public and self-confidence. I hope they leave my program with a renewed appreciation and understanding of the role journalism plays, and continues to play, in this great nation. I am more than happy that this honor brings deserved recognition to our great state and a thriving student media program at a small Catholic school.”
St. Joe senior Paige Loyacono started learning from Cassreino in seventh grade and said she never thought journalism was something she would ever be interested in.
“Through him encouraging me to go through the process of editing and going on camera, I realized journalism actually was something I was interested in and I ended up choosing it for my elective,” Loyacono said. “Mr. Cassreino showed me I had potential and pushed me to go further with it. He always stressed that everyone has a story, and it’s our job as journalists to bring out peoples’ stories. I’ve learned to talk to people in a way to bring out those stories and form relationships with people, and I wouldn’t have gained those communication skills if I hadn’t taken this class.”
“This award shows the dedication he puts into this day-in and day out, and it will really highlight our program,” she said. “It’s going to put the work that we do on more of a national platform.”
Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Executive Director RJ Morgan said St. Joe’s journalism program is one of the deepest, most nuanced and enriching high school media outlets he has ever seen.
“I would argue there may not be a scholastic broadcast program in the country that serves its audience better or in more ways than Bruin News Now,” Morgan said.
Cassreino said he plans to continue to build on the journalism program and continue to improve things for the future.
“I’m focused on high school journalism,” he said. “Every year we’ve added something new. I couldn’t do what I do with the support of the administration here. They sit back and see what these kids put in every week. They’re out there working on deadlines and projects every week, and if I didn’t have the support, we couldn’t do this. This award speaks volumes about the quality of the students and their hard work. They do a tremendous job every day, and every week. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
To learn more about St. Joe’s journalism department, visit www.stjoebruins.com, and check out the Bruin News Now YouTube channel.