Sign In
Contact Us

News Release

el Don Student Newspaper Earns Over 50 National, State, and Local Awards

(Santa Ana) — This spring, Santa Ana College’s award-winning student newspaper el Don was honored with 51 national, state, and local awards. At the annual College Media Advisers/Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Journalism Spring Conference in New York City, el Don won the David L. Adams Apple Award First Place “Best Newspaper, two-year school, more than 7,500.”

“I am proud of our talented and dedicated student journalists and their commitment to academic achievement. Their hard work and sacrifice pays off not only in the honors they win, but in the way they conduct their lives — striving for and attaining excellence,” said C.W. “Bud” Little, el Don advisor and Santa Ana College journalism professor.

In addition, the CSPA presented 31 individual and team Gold Circle Awards for excellence in collegiate journalism to Santa Ana College students. Gold Circle Awards are offered to recognize superior work by student journalists usually as individuals, but occasionally as an entire staff working with either print or online media. These media are published in schools or colleges throughout the United States and in overseas schools following an American plan of education.

The following Gold Circle Awards were received by el Don:

  • Editorial Writing – Certificate of Merit: Staff, “Insecure communities”
  • General or Humor Commentary – Third Place: C. Harold Pierce, “Who’s working for whom”
  • Sports News
    First Place: Eric Lomeli, “Roadrunners sweep the Dons”
    Third Place: C. Harold Pierce and Brian McKeon, “Sudden impact concussions”
  • General Feature – Certificate of Merit:  C. Harold Pierce, “Bootlegger’s brews crafty liquid gold”
  • Headline Writing – First Place: Staff, el Don
  • Caption Writing – Second Place: Staff, el Don
  • Briefs Writing
    First Place: Staff, el Don
    Third Place: Staff, el Don
  • Sidebar Writing – Second Place: Shane Collins and C. Harold Pierce, “Bicycle Safety”
  • Comic Cartoons – Third Place: Joseph O’Brien, “Future Profit”
  • Single Feature Photograph – First Place: Liz Monroy, “On the down low”
  • Photography Portfolio of Work – Certificate of Merit: Liz Monroy
  • Typography: A Designed or Art Headline – Second Place: Eric Lomeli, “Masks on the diamond”
  • Overall Design Newsmagazine Format – Third Place: Staff, el Don
  • Page One Design Newsmagazine Format – Certificate of Merit: Liz Monroy, “On the down low”
  • News Page Design Newsmagazine Format
    First Place: Ricky Sandoval, “O.C. dream forums providing answers”
    Second Place: Marissa Adams, “District backs Brown’s tax hike”
    Third Place: C. Harold Pierce, “Riders struggle with fare hike”
  • Op-Ed or News Analysis Page Design Newsmagazine Format
    First Place: Joseph O’Brien, “Cast your vote, choose your future”
  • Feature Page Design Newsmagazine Format
    First Place:  Ale Gonzalez, “OC roller girls”
    Second Place: Eric Lomeli, “Masks on the diamond”
    Third Place: Shane Collins, “Knotts still scary”
  • Sports Page Design Newsmagazine Format
    First Place: Eric J. Lomeli, “Dons football update 2012”
    Second Place: Eric J. Lomeli, “The line up”
    Certificate of Merit: Eric J. Lomeli, “Masks on the diamond”
    Certificate of Merit: Eric J. Lomeli, “Sudden impact concussions”
  • Sports Page Design Portfolio of Work
    Second Place: Eric J. Lomeli, el Don
  • Single Subject News or Feature Package, Two Pages, Double-truck or
    Special Section Design Newsmagazine Format

    First Place: Joseph O’Brien, “Voter guide 2012”
    Second Place: Eric J. Lomeli, “Sudden impact concussions”
    Third Place: Eric J. Lomeli, “Dons football update 2012”
    Certificate of Merit: Ale Gonzalez, “OC roller girls”

In May, el Don editors Katie Porter and C. Harold Pierce won first place writing honors at the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s (CNPA) Campus Excellence in Journalism. Porter was selected as California Community Colleges’ Best Writer, while Pierce was selected as the Best Feature Writer. In addition, el Don reporter Teree Saldivar placed second to Pierce, sweeping the category.

The CCMA (California College Media Association) also awarded el Don the following first place honors, plus five second place and five third place awards:

• First Place Best Overall Designel Don Staff
• First Place Best Non-Breaking News Story – C. Harold Pierce
• First Place Best Sports Story – C. Harold Pierce
• First Place Best Designed Infographic – C. Harold Pierce
• First Place Best Sports Photograph - Eric Lomeli
• First Place Best Feature Story - Katie Porter and Nashe Harley
• First Place Best Sports Page Design - Liz Monroy
• First Place Best Features Page Design - Asiria Ramirez

In May, the Orange County Press Club named el Don Editor-in-chief C. Harold Pierce as the county’s College Reporter of the Year. The award was accompanied by a $1,000 cash prize. In addition, el Don photo editor Liz Monroy was named runner-up and received a plaque and a cash award.

“Our staff winning so many awards is really a testament to SAC's journalism program. Former el Donners have set the bar for excellence very high and we do our best to keep it that way. The el Don is a legacy newspaper program, and I'm very proud to be part of it,” said Pierce.

Participation on the el Don staff is limited to students currently enrolled in SAC journalism classes. The college offers an associate degree and a certificate in Communications and Media Studies to help students meet their career goals. For more information, call (714) 564-5616 or visit

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 10,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

# # #

View All News Releases

​Media Contact

Judy Iannaccone
(714) 480-7503

Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: