St. Joe teacher runner-up to national award
MADISON -- St. Joseph Catholic School journalism teacher Terry Cassreino said being runner-up to National Broadcast Adviser of the Year reflects more about his students’ hard work than anything else.
Cassreino was named one of the nation’s top high school broadcast journalism advisers for 2022 and a runner-up to the national Broadcast Adviser of the Year award last week.
“I’ve been blessed to teach hardworking and incredibly talented high school journalists over the last 10 years who have bought into my vision for the broadcast journalism program here and turned it into one of the top high school media programs in Mississippi,” Cassreino said. “This award is a reflection of the hard work my students have done in this class.”
Cassreino said St. Joe’s broadcast program has grown immensely since he took it over in 2012 when “The Bear Facts” newspaper was the only media source at the school besides the yearly “The Shield” yearbook. Today, students maintain, write, and edit stories for The Bear Facts online, and produce their weekly video newscast, “Bruin News Now.”
Students also produce live radio broadcasts and live video streaming coverage of Bruin sports, including football, basketball, and baseball. Radio productions air on WJXC-LP Jackson, Mississippi Catholic Radio, 107.9, whose studio is in Cassreino’s classroom.
“The students enjoy it, and they work after school, on the weekends, and during the school day to put the weekly newscasts together,” Cassreino said. “I didn’t know eight years ago that’d be standing here receiving national recognition for the broadcast program, and it shows how effective St. Joe is.”
“Many of my students have gone on to careers in journalism, accounting, music, and the military,” he said. This national recognition for our student media program reflects highly on the strong academic programs we offer at St. Joe.”
Carolyn Erwin, mother of Emerson Erwin, one of Cassreino’s junior broadcast journalism students, recommended Cassreino for the award to the Journalism Education Association (JEA) at Kansas State University back in May of this year.
“I’ve seen my daughter grow so much, specifically as a writer and speaker, under him,” Erwin said. “Terry is a great leader, and he encourages the students to be leaders. The kids, even eighth graders, learn how to use all the equipment and it’s incredible how independent they’ve become.”
Erwin said Cassreino is like a coach, as he’s there for leadership and direction but he puts the players in and allows them to make the calls and have a taste of freedom and being leaders.
“Sometimes they fail, and they have to learn that they win as a team and fail as a team,” Erwin said. “Terry has taught my daughter some valuable lessons. The biggest thing she’s learned under him is being a leader, and making sure everyone knows the plan and how all the pieces fit together as a puzzle.”
She said her daughter Emerson is the current news director for St. Joe’s weekly video newscast, “Bruin News Now.”
The JEA at Kansas State University was founded in 1924 and is a national organization for high school print and broadcast journalism teachers. They announced the awards last week as part of their annual Broadcast Adviser of the Year Awards.
Cassreino’s students and their work have received state, national and international recognition, and some have been named the state’s high school journalist of the year and received the prestigious Orley Hood Award for Excellence in High School Sports Journalism six of the nine years it has been given.
He is a four-time Mississippi high school journalism adviser of the year and has been recognized twice by the Dow Jones News Fund as one of the nation’s top print journalism teachers. JEA recognized Cassreino as one of the top broadcast advisers in 2020 when he received a Special Recognition Adviser Award. He is a former longtime journalist with more than 25 years of experience as a reporter, political columnist, and editor at Mississippi newspapers.
Cassreino will be honored at the JEA/National Scholastic Press Association Fall National High School Journalism Convention this November in St. Louis. Cassreino and O’Daniel will receive $500 each for broadcast equipment and a plaque commemorating their achievements.
St. Joe principal Dr. Dena Kinsey said Cassreino equips his students with skills they will use well past high school and college and considers him a gift to St. Joe.
“The journalism program not only enhances their writing abilities, but it also teaches them editing, layout, and video skills,” Kinsey said. “They are comfortable behind and in front of the camera. They learn to grab an audience and keep them interested. Terry’s leadership guides them and trains them and then lets them lead the way. I am constantly amazed at the quality work they produce.”
Cassreino is married to Pam Vance and has two children attending St. Joe. They are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gluckstadt.