CSPA mourns passing of instructor Gil Chesterton

Gil ChestertonA memorial service was held June 24 in honor of Gil Chesterton, the legendary journalism adviser and longtime member of the California Scholastic Press Association, who died May 18.

Chesterton, a dedicated family man, also loved journalism. He worked as an editor for a weekly newspaper in Bell Gardens and advised the newspaper at Whittier High, but made his name during a 33-year run at Beverly Hills High.

Not only did Chesterton oversee the school’s weekly, award-winning newspaper, but he also guided students’ work on the yearbook and on a weekly newscast.

Last year, the Journalism Education Association chose Chesterton as one of 10 recipients of its Lifetime Achievement Award. The JEA award is given to longtime advisers “for lifetime dedication to journalism education,” and that certainly described Chesterton.

During his youth, Chesterton participated in Ralph Alexander’s Scholastic Sports Association program, then remained active when the SSA transitioned into the California Scholastic Press Association.

Every summer, Chesterton volunteered his time, and formally became one of CSPA’s primary leaders after Alexander’s death in 1981. As part of his work, Chesterton advised workshop students as they produced the CSPA Reporter newspaper, which chronicled each workshop, and also taught page design and critiqued student publications.

Chesterton, elected to the CSPA Hall of Fame in 2008, chose to retire from teaching at the workshop in 2014 but remained a valued member of CSPA’s board of directions.

Chesterton’s family, including his wife, Nancy, and their daughter, Carey, have requested that donations in Gil’s name should be made to CSPA, which will use the money to assist future workshop students. Donations can be made at http://www.cspaworkshop.org.

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