LAWRENCE — Journalism students from Sterling High School traveled to the University of Kansas Saturday to take part in the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Contest, and several students came home as some of the best student-journalists in the state.
Junior Caleb Hendricks took first place in News Sports Writing, which makes him the state champion in that event, and junior Kasady Smith took first in Student Life Photography, which also makes her the state champion in that event.
“Caleb and Kasady are two of my leaders in the journalism program,” journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “To see them become state champions is incredible. They are both very talented and have incredible drive and passion for journalism. It’s fantastic to see their hard work rewarded like this.”
Since Sterling is a Class 2A school, Vogts said his students competed against other 2A schools and 1A schools.
“That takes the level of competition up a notch,” he said. “There are solid journalism programs in the 1A and 2A classifications. All the students had to bring their A-game to this contest, and they did. I’m very proud of them all.”
Other Sterling Black Bears placing included junior Taryn Gillespie, who received an Honorable Mention in Academic Photography; sophomore Veronica Norez, who received an Honorable Mention in Editorial Cartoon; Smith also took second in News Page Design; and the freshmen duo of Ethan Proffitt and Lindsay Gilmore took third in Video News Package.
“It was a fantastic day,” Vogts said. “In each category they only give out three honorable mentions in addition to the first, second and third designations. So, an honorable mention means you are still in the top six of Class 1A/2A student journalists. That’s outstanding.”
Each time a student places, he or she earns points for the school in the sweeps competition, which is broken down by individual classification. This means Sterling was up against only 2A schools for the overall state championship. Point values are based upon the placings. First place is worth five points, second is worth four, third is worth three and honorable mentions are worth one. The school with the highest point total wins sweeps for their classification.
Sterling received 19 points, which is basically a tie for sixth place with Pratt Skyline High School.
Other Black Bears competing at State included freshman Dallas Lackey, freshman Joel White, freshman Mariela Perez and junior Janyssa Phillips.
“Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with how the day went,” Vogts said. “We had a strong performance, and the best part is, none of the students were seniors. That means I’m not losing anyone. Next year is going to be even better. I can’t wait!”