All Sterling student journos qualify for state competition

Members of the Sterling Student Publications, which includes the Cub Yearbook and The Cub Reporter Magazine, accomplished something pretty impressive recently.

Every student involved in journalism at Sterling High School qualified for to the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Journalism Contest on May 7 in Lawrence on the campus of the University of Kansas.

“This is unprecedented,” journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “During my tenure at Sterling High School, we have never had everyone qualify for the state contest. I am beyond ecstatic.”

Competing in various competitions, 11 of 11 students placed in the top three or received an honorable mention designation, which qualified them for state. Each student could enter up to five competitive categories, but each school could only enter twice in each category.

“We had a total of 32 entries in the 19 available categories at the Regional contest, which is the first step toward being able to compete at the state level,” Vogts said. “Of those 32, 20 entries qualified. I am beyond thrilled. On the heels of senior Veronica Norez being named Journalist of the Year, it is great to see the hard work of the upperclassmen and the underclassmen alike pay off so they can go up against other top journalism programs in the state.”

SHS students competed against other 3A/4A schools on Feb. 25 in Hays at the KSPA Regional Journalism Contest on the campus of Fort Hays State University. The contests were broken down by on-site, in which students had to physically be in Hays to take part, and digital submissions, in which students create journalist works at the high school and uploaded them to judges.

Vogts said the on-site contests largely consisted of writing, editing and cartooning categories, while the digital submissions were geared more toward design and photography.

Every student begins preparations for KSPA contest hoping to win, but ensuring quality entries can be daunting, especially faced with all the other activities the journalism students are involved in.

“The tricky piece to our competition puzzle is time,” Vogts said. “All of my journalism students are heavily involved in activities offered by the high school, and we had yearbook and magazine deadlines to tend with. The students were strapped for time. However, they all managed the multiple responsibilities well, and the proof is in the shear number of winners we had. More than half of the students placed in multiple events. It’s outstanding.”

Vogts said his students achieved one 1st-place finish, six 2nd-place finishes, two 3rd-place finishes and 11 honorable mentions.

The students placing at the Regional Contest and qualifying for State in their respective categories are as follows:

  • Kylah Comley, senior
    • 2nd Place in News Page Design
    • Honorable Mention in Sports Writing
    • Honorable Mention in News Writing
    • Honorable Mention in Infographics
  • Baylee Maskil, senior
    • 2nd Place in Photo Illustration
  • Veronica Norez, senior
    • 1st Place in Editorial Cartoon
    • 2nd Place in Headline Writing and Design
    • 2nd Place in News Writing
    • 3rd Place in Yearbook Layout
  • Alex Veliz, senior
    • 2nd Place in Student Life Photography
    • Honorable Mention in News Page Design
  • Lindsay Gilmore, junior
    • 2nd Place in Copy Editing
    • Honorable Mention in Infographics
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Grace Rowland, freshman)
  • Dallas Lackey, junior
    • 3rd Place in Cutline Writing
  • Lexi Rose, junior
    • Honorable Mention in Headline Writing and Design
  • Anna Tuszynski, junior
    • Honorable Mention in Advertising
  • Raegan Mantz, sophomore
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Sports Writing
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Morgan Anderson, freshman)
  • Morgan Anderson, freshman
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Raegan Mantz, sophomore)
  • Grace Rowland, freshman
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Sports Writing
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Lindsay Gilmore, junior)

“Looking at the list of winners, it is clear our senior leadership within the program is strong,” Vogts said. “Most of the seniors have been in the program for multiple years, and it brings me great pride and joy to see them have success in an area in which they all excel. I am looking forward to seeing them compete at state. It’s a good day to be a Black Bear!”

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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