The Washington Post has presented its first annual Excellence in Journalism Awards to nine area high school newspapers. The ceremony, held in the Post's downtown headquarters, was attended by members of the student newspaper staffs, advisers, parents and school administrators.

The Beacon of Woodrow Wilson High School won the $1,500 first place. The News Reel of Dunbar Senior High School was second, winning $1000 and Tech Life of McKinley High School, third, earning $500. There were 32 entrants.

The awards, open to public high schools in the District, Maryland and Virginia, are to encourage and recognize outstanding high school reporting and production. The student newspapers were judged by a panel of Washington Post editors for news content, reporting, layout, clarity of writing and presentation, and service to the school community.

Washington Post publisher Donald E. Graham, executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee and vice president for communications Vincent E. Reed presented the award.

"The range of subject matter -- from national education issues to personal problems such as suicide -- is quite impressive," said Graham. "These newspapers are miles ahead of those I remember from my high school days." He also praised the staffers' hard work, diligence and willingness to put in the extra effort needed to produced quality newspapers.