PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School student journalists, designers and photographers brought home some hardware from the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association National Fall Convention.

On November 15 the students traveled to Dallas for the convention and brought home 17 awards, five of which were first place winners.

The Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association National Fall Convention provides professional learning sessions, speakers, contests and more for newspaper, online, broadcast, yearbook and magazine. The topics range from ethics and law, technology and design, advertising and business operations, photography and art and the  basics of newswriting and reporting. Approximately 4,000 attendees show up at each convention.

Pittsburg High School student designers sent in their selections before the event as part of the design contests and before they traveled to Dallas they were informed that they already had six awards in place.

Students interested in the writing competition had two hours to complete an article based on a prompt given during the convention.

“It was really fun, I got to do a lot of things we learned and a lot of of bonding things as well,” Grace Palmer said.

Nicole Konopelko agreed.

“It is really interesting to learn from a bunch of professional journalists,” she said.

Their teacher Emily Smith said her students did really well competing against students in various schools from small classes to 6A leveled schools with full staffed journalism programs.  

Smith said Kansas as a whole did well too with 43 awards brought back to Kansas schools from the convention, she said Kansas is one of the most competitive states in journalism.

At the convention five of the students of the ‘Pittsburg 6’ had the honor of presenting a session about investigative journalism.

“It went well, a lot more people than expected and I think they enjoyed it,” Kali Poenitske said.

Gina Mathew agreed.

“Someone came up after the presentation and mentioned that our presentation inspired them to be persistent, which we were pretty honored to hear,” she said.  

Smith said people came up to the five students for autographs and asked them for their social media handles and their thoughts on certain stories.

“It was great moment of validation to see how celebrated they were,” Smith said.


Winners of the JEA competition:

Shannon O’Harra received an Excellent on feature photography

Myla Turner received an Honorable Mention for photo portrait

Harleigh Drake received an Honorable Mention for yearbook copy and caption for student life.

Nicole Konopelko received a Superior for commentary writing

Savannah Jones received an Honorable Mention for photography portfolio

Maddie Baden received an Honorable Mention for sports writing

Kali Poenitske received an Honorable Mention for feature writing

Gina Mathew received an Honorable Mention for news writing

Grace Palmer received a Superior for newsmagazine layout

Isabel Hendrickson received a Superior for yearbook layout for inside pages


Winners of the NSPA competition:

Maddy Emerson received first place in sports reaction, second and third place with two environmental portraits in NSPA Photo of the Year.

Aubrey Bolinger received an Honorable Mention for a feature photograph in NSPA Photo of the Year.

Alivia Bendict received an Honorable Mention for an editorial cartoon in the NSPA Best of.

The entire staff received first place for their newspaper page one in the NSPA Best of and eighth place for newspaper special issue in NSPA Best of Show.

To see photographs, writing and design of winners from the JEA / NSPA National Fall Convention go to http://studentpress.org/nspa/awards/ .


— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.