This spring, a group of Rock Creek students will be traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for the Kansas Scholastic Press Association state journalism contests on May 5.
Students who qualified for state include first-place qualifiers, senior Katie Dulohery in Editorial Cartoon, senior Natalie Lindsey in Yearbook Copywriting, Haley Smith in Copy Editing, senior Zach Zoeller in Editorial Writing, junior Spencer Dugan in Yearbook Sports Writing and junior Braden Schwarz in Sports Writing. Second-place qualifiers included Lindsey in Editorial Writing and junior Abby Ruder in Yearbook Copywriting, and third-place qualifiers were Smith in Cutline (Caption) Writing, junior Mac Hayes in Sports Writing and Ruder in Sports Photography.
Finally, qualifying with Honorable Mention placings were senior Trevor Badura in Feature Writing, Dulohery in Sports Photography, Smith in Advertising, junior Karter Carlson in Yearbook Sports Writing, Dugan in Academics Photography, junior Allie Jensen in Cutline Writing and Student Life Photography and sophomore Taylor Lembright in Academics Photography and Editorial Cartoon. Others participating, but not placing, included seniors Marshall Fike and Zane Roberts.
For the regional contests, which were scheduled for Feb. 22 but cancelled due to inclement weather and proctored at Rock Creek the following week, these students had to perform tasks, such as writing articles, writing captions, designing advertisements or taking photographs.
“Students ‘practice’ for regionals by what they do regularly in the class for our newspaper and yearbook deadlines, but I also have them look over the past years’ entries to see the judges’ previous comments and the judging rubrics,” journalism adviser Jessica Augustine said.
Most of the students who qualified this year also qualified in the past. While this year, the Advanced Journalism staff members were the only students who participated in regionals, in other years, Introduction to Journalism students also compete, just depending on the team’s needs and the students’ abilities.
“Not so much this year, but last year for Editorial Cartooning, I got a plain sheet of paper, and I practiced drawing cartoon characters and things like that,” sophomore Taylor Lembright said.
In addition to earning regional placings, Rock Creek also celebrated having the 3A/4A KSPA Journalist of the Year, as Lindsey received that honor by creating a portfolio of her work and getting recommendations from multiple people in the field of journalism. KSPA awards three different Journalists of the year — one for 1A/2A, one for 3A/4A and one for 5A/6A — then names an overall Journalist of the Year. While Lindsey did not get the overall Journalist of the Year award, she did get the 3A/4A title and a check for $750.
“I had to put together an online portfolio, I had to bring in examples from previous articles I have done, I had to write an essay about why journalism was important to me and the student body and I had to get three letters of recommendation,” Lindsey said.
Earning Journalist of the Year or being a state qualifier can help students who want to pursue a journalism major or career by showing their talents in the field, but it can also benefit students just by building their accomplishments for their resumes.
“Journalism can appeal to many different students — from those who like design to photography to writing to video,” Augustine said. “I would encourage students who are seeking an elective or a fine arts credit to try it out because, not only does it fulfill a credit, but it also opens up many possibilities in terms of awards, scholarships, internships and careers.”
Article by staff member Ethan Karnes
Logo courtesy of Kansas Scholastic Press Association