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.
Sweeps points are earned by students placing in each category. A 1st Place is worth five points, a 2nd Place is worth four points, a 3rd Place is worth three points, and an Honorable Mention is worth one point. Points are broken down by Kansas State High School Athletic Association size classifications, so Sterling competed against other 3A schools for the sweeps title.
However, during the individual competitions in which 12 students competed in 24 events, the Black Bears competed against schools from both 3A and 4A after earning a spot at State by placing at the Regional Contest held in February.
Senior Caleb Hendricks took second place in News Sports Writing and earned Honorable Mention marks in News Writing and Yearbook Layout. Senior Kasady Smith received an Honorable Mention in Newspaper Page Design. Senior Taryn Gillespie received Honorable Mention distinctions in both Academic Photography and Student Life Photography. Junior Alex Veliz took 3rd Place in Academic Photography, and when he teamed up with sophomore Lindsay Gilmore, the team earned an Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme and Graphics. Rounding out the State winners, freshman Aniston Ramsey received an Honorable Mention in Newspaper Page Design.
“I am incredibly proud of all of the students,” journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “They work hard every day, and their efforts were rewarded in Lawrence.”
Since Sterling is a Class 3A school, Vogts said his students competed against other 3A schools and 4A schools. Of all the 3A/4A schools competing, 34 placed in the contest, including Sterling.
“That takes the level of competition up a notch,” he said. “There are solid journalism programs in the 3A and 4A classifications, and there are a lot of them. All the students had to bring their A-game to this contest, and they did. 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 3A/4A student journalists. That’s outstanding.”
Other Black Bears competing at State included junior Baylee Maskil, junior Veronica Norez, sophomore Dallas Lackey, freshman Kadie Smith, freshman Lucas Weigel, and freshman Steven Payton.
“Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with how the day went,” Vogts said. “We had a strong performance. For the seniors, it was their last time to compete in Lawrence, and I am happy they all saw success. They will be missed next year. Their leadership has been phenomenal. They are leaving big shoes to fill, but next year we have a good crop of newcomers to the program. I expect to do well next year too.“