Sterling student journos qualify for 2017 State competition

Several members of the Sterling Student Publications punched their tickets to the State Journalism Contest on May 6 in Lawrence on the campus of the University of Kansas.

This came after competing in the Kansas Scholastic Press Association Regional Contest, hosted Feb. 23 at Fort Hays State University in Hays.

Of the 10 students journalists from Sterling High School, which includes members of the Cub Yearbook and the Cub Yearbook Magazine staffs, eight placed in the top three or received an honorable mention designation and qualifying them for state.

“We had a total of 28 entries in the 19 available categories at the Regional contest, which is the first step toward being able to compete at the state level,” journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “Of those 28, 14 entries qualified. That’s a good number of students who are state-bound.”

Senior yearbook editor Lindsay Gilmore said she was proud of the staff, especially the less-experienced members.

“I think we did a good job, and some of the people who have never had an opportunity to do something like this before did a good job for having never done it before,” she said.

Senior magazine editor Lexi Rose said she too was pleased with the results.

“I thought we did well,” she said. “I was happy with my personal and the staff’s overall results. I was especially proud of Will for placing during his first year.”

SHS students competed against other 3A/4A schools. Each student could enter up to five competitive categories, but each school could only enter twice in each category. 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 created journalistic 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.

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

  • Will Dutton, senior
    • Honorable Mention in Headline Writing & Design
    • Honorable Mention in News Page Design
  • Lindsay Gilmore, senior
    • 2nd place in News Page Design
    • 3rd place in News Writing
  • Lexi Rose, senior
    • 3rd place in Headline Writing & Design
    • Honorable Mention in Infographics
  • Raegan Mantz, junior
    • Honorable Mention in Photo Illustration
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Grace Rowland, sophomore)
  • Taya Wilson, junior
    • 3rd place in Photo Illustration
    • Honorable Mention in Academic Photograph
    • Honorable Mention in Infographics
    • Honorable Mention in Sports Photography
  • Morgan Anderson, sophomore
    • Honorable Mention in Student Life Photography
  • Grace Rowland, sophomore
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Theme & Graphics (team with Raegan Mantz, junior)
  • Abby Riffel, freshman
    • Honorable Mention in Yearbook Layout

“We consider the Regional Contests to be one of our most important annual events both for students to receive feedback on their work and also for students to compete with one another,” said Eric Thomas, KSPA executive director, in a press release announcing the results. “Teachers who organize and enter their students into the contest give their students a great opportunity to see how their work compares to the work of others.”

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 Sterling 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.”

Going into the coming months, the pressure will be on again as various activities divide students’ time during the spring.

“That same level of time management will be required in the run-up to the state contest,” Vogts said. “I know they can do it, and I’m excited to see how we place on this larger stage.”

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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