Student journalist representing the Canton-Galva High School Eagles landed in Hutchinson Tuesday morning with a clear mission in front of them.
They were there to win.
Participating in the second year of the Kansas State Fair’s Scholastic Press Corps, the Eagle journos had from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. to produce a four-page newsletter highlighting the day of the fair.
Interviews had to be conducted, photos shot and edited, stories written and pages laid out.
They hit the ground running and were relentless in their pursuit.
The group consisted of four seniors and one junior, all females. They were Kaitlyn Hollingsworth, Kristine Larson, Taryn Nelson, Michelle Shannon and Caitlin Kopf, who was the lone junior. CGHS journalism instructor Jessica Bowman was on hand to help.
Everyone did an incredible job, and as the professional mentor for the group, I had the esteemed pleasure of working closely with the group of talented young journalists.
Whether it was Caitlin climbing onto the top of a horse trailer to get just the right photo for a story or Taryn meticulously and skillfully cutting out a photo for the layout despite her arm being in a cast due to a recent car accident, these girls rocked the competition.
Sure, not everything went exactly according to plan.
Part of the competition entails having two assigned stories that must appear in the newsletter. Then the rest of the content can be determined by the group.
Well, one of the stories CGHS was supposed to cover was a demonstration that got canceled. Luckily the SPC coordinator Janet Hallford had a backup story for them.
Then a couple of the design computers were acting a little temperamental. This wasn’t a huge deal until the design software (they were using InDesign) crashed for no apparent reason.
The program started back up well enough, but all the changes had been made to that page that was being worked on were gone.
I could see panic begin to creep into the girls’ faces.
Then Mrs. Bowman had a thought.
She questioned the young journos if they had been working from a jump drive that had just been pulled out.
This got the brain working, and the girls figured out that the page wasn’t lost. Instead, it was saved onto the jump drive only instead of also on the computer’s hard drive.
Until some of the supporting files for the pages being built could be found by the program.
More panic began to enter the room, especially since at this point it was 5:50 p.m.
Again Mrs. Bowman brought up the idea of jump drives, and all the supporting documents were found so the designed pages could be exported as PDFs and turned into Hallford.
They got done with less than a minute to spare, but they got it done.
It looked awesome.
Though I had no real, direct influence on the project, I am proud to say I was the mentor for that group.
They are clearly getting proper journalism training in the hallowed halls of CGHS.
I can’t wait to find out if the CGHS journos won, though I’m confident they should.
The awards ceremony will take place in late October.
The students were also a lot of fun to work with. I even got a couple of them to venture out on the eating marathon I was racing in before my day at the fair ended.
We all ate things such as fried cheese curds, Tacones (it is a taco in a cone, so it is kind of like ice cream but even better), deep-fried peaches, deep-fried cheese cake, deep-fried Snickers candy bars, Pronto Pups and so much more.
I tried to convince them to try the new pickle pops, which consist of frozen pickle juice in a plastic container.
No one would try one with me, so I tried one on my own after the competition.
They come in plain and jalapeño flavors.
Let’s just say they were interesting. The flavors weren’t bad, but it didn’t taste right either.
They were very salty, so though I don’t recommend them as an everyday snack, perhaps they would make a good replacement to bananas for athletes who experience a lot of muscle cramps.
Over all, it was a good day at the fair. Sadly I didn’t count as many mullets or rattails, but the people watching was still enjoyable.
The experience I had with the high school students, though, helps reinforce what I moved out west to do. I want to teach this stuff.
I was getting more excited about the deadline approaching than the students were, and I think if I can keep that excitement going when I’m teaching my own class, I should be able to find some success in the classroom.
But until then, I just have to wait. I hate waiting.
At least I won’t have to wait much more than a month and a half to be able to post Canton-Galva’s victory on here, right?
Also, here are some more photos from the day: