Rodney Lowe wins lifetime achievement


The Journalism Education Association recognizes Rodney Lowe.

Rachel Krumholz, In-Depth Editor

After decades of educating students, mentoring young journalists and shaping a high school newspaper, former Evanstonian adviser Rodney Lowe is presented a lifetime achievement award from the Journalism Education Association (JEA).

“Rodney Lowe is a man of courage, with an unsurpassed dedication to journalistic integrity and the role of a free press in our democracy, and he passes this on to all of his students,” ETHS board member Jonathan Baum told Evanston Now.

Baum, whose children wrote for the Evanstonian, nominated Lowe for this award. Lowe is one of the 12 nominees to win the award, all of whom will be honored on April 13 in San Francisco, CA at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention.

Lowe didn’t know he was being nominated; he was just focusing on finishing up his final semester at ETHS. He says that upon hearing about his victory, he felt dedicated.

A lifetime of accomplishments and guidance towards students and fellow staff members helped Lowe in this victory.

“I think that the judges saw how the Evanstonian continually improved year after year,” Lowe says. “We have had good writing, layout, topics, stance on editorials; it’s been pretty consistent.”

“He’s been amazing,” coworker and English teacher Lisa Oberman adds. “He’s had a tremendous influence simply because he loved student journalists and felt an obligation to maintain high standards.”

Under his advisorship, the Evanstonian has received numerous honorable mentions, as well as state-wide competition victories.

The more recent victories for the Evanstonian include state runner-up in 2014, state champions in 2015, and being named top in the state in the IHSA journalism competition in 2016.

The Evanstonian has also been nationally recognized as one of the best newspapers in the country in 2008 and 2012, a feat Lowe takes great pride in.

Additionally, the Illinois State Board of Education recognized Lowe with an award of merit for the 2016-2017 school year.

“[Lowe] connected with students in ways other teachers didn’t take the time to do and that’s ultimately why he was so successful,” former Executive Editor, Samantha Idler says. “He knows how to motivate each person as an individual.”

Lowe is especially thankful for two women by the names of Mary Benedict and Judith Ruhana. Benedict helped Lowe in getting him the job at ETHS when former Evanstonian advisor John Reque announced his retirement. Ruhana, former English Dept. Chair, acted as a support system for Lowe throughout their overlapping years at ETHS.

“She was supportive of the Evanstonian, I was able to flourish and do well,” Lowe says. “She knew how much I cared and understood how much passion I had.”

This lifetime achievement award does not mark the end of Lowe’s career, for he plans on getting involved with the Illinois Journalism Education Association. This will start with helping plan the National Journalism Convention that is to take place in Chicago in Nov.

“This award was not just for me,” Lowe says. “It was for all the students I worked with over the years. It means that we should keep up the hard work despite all the people giving us a hard time.”