SHS journalists earn berth to State Contest

On May 4, five Sterling High School student journalists will be competing at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Contest in Lawrence on the campus of the University of Kansas.

This honor was earned when they placed in the top six at the Regional Contest.

Student participating include the follow, along with the category they will be competing in:

  1. Sophomore Taryn Gillespie, 2nd Place in Advertising
  2. Senior Lydia Lambert, Honorable Mention in Infographics and 3rd Place in Photo Illustration
  3. Sophomore Jess Roberts, 2nd Place in Photo Illustration
  4. Sophomore Caleb Hendricks, Honorable Mention in Newspaper Sports Writing
  5. Sophomores Chelsey Riffel & Caleb Hendricks, Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme Development

Students competing at State will be going up against other 1A and 2A schools, just as they did at the Regional Contest.

Hendricks will be the only Black Bear who will have to travel to Lawrence. Newspaper Sports Writing is an on-site contest, while the rest are carry-ins, which means they are done at SHS ahead of time and delivered for judging on May 4.

This year the Regional Contest was slated to take place Feb. 22 in Wichita on the campus of Wichita State University; however, this did not go according to plan. Due to the winter storm that besieged the state, all Regional Contest were held locally at the respective schools with the local journalism advisers securing proctors to monitor the on-site contests. Then, all entries, both carry-in and on-site, were mailed to the Wichita Regional Contest coordinator to be disseminated to the judges.

SHS journalism adviser Todd Vogts, in his first year at Sterling, said he was proud of the students.

“Everyone competed well, even those who didn’t place,” he said. “I am excited to see these five students take on other student journalists in Lawrence. I feel bad for those who didn’t qualify. I know they did good work, but you never know what the judges are going to be looking for on any given day.”

The journalism staff at SHS, which primarily produces the Cub yearbook, is comprise of all sophomores, except for senior editor Lambert. Vogts said this bodes well for the future of the program.

“We have a young staff, and they all performed exceptionally well,” he said. “Sterling has a stellar reputation in the world of scholastic journalism, and with this group of students, I know that will continue for many years to come. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this group. These students comprise the Sterling team of Varsity Journalists, and they competing at a level befitting of that title.”

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About toddvogts 843 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at