By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Tupelo High School’s journalism department had a strong showing at a statewide competition last week.
The school’s broadcast, newspaper and yearbook staffs combined to win 55 individual and publication awards at the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association’s state convention at the University of Mississippi. The Hi-Times student newspaper was selected as the best newspaper in the state for Class 4A to 6A schools, and WTHS was recognized as the best newscast in the state.
THS senior Katherine Grace won the prestigious state Newspaper Staff Member of the Year award.
“It speaks highly of our program that our students are building professional portfolios as high school students,” said THS newspaper adviser Ginny Miller.
Grace’s award was one of 29 for the newspaper staff, including 14 first places. The paper won top awards in news writing, feature writing, sports writing and print design. Grace, Jordan Jones and Corey Kalish won individual first-place awards.
Staff members said they were motivated after finishing second at last year’s competition.
Jones said they “picked the paper apart,” and studied many professional papers to learn from them.
“They really dedicated themselves and worked really hard,” Miller said.
WTHS won 17 awards, including 14 first-place finishes. Those included graphics, camera work, news coverage, feature coverage and sports coverage. Kyle Holliman, Hayden Buckley, Katie Taylor, Michael Ray, Chase Cernigliaro, Laine Mansour, Reed Taylor and Sam Bertolet each won individual first-place awards.
The staff produces a monthly segment about the school district that airs on WTVA and a weekly news broadcast. It also does live broadcasts of many school sporting events.
“I signed up for this as another class, but have realized how awesome it was and the difference you can make in your school,” Holliman said.
The THS Album yearbook won nine awards, including four top finishes. The staff placed first for advertisement design, and Nikolette Kolkinn, Micah McPherson and Dorie Stewart – all 2013 graduates – took top individual honors.
“When you go through all of the effort and have your yearbook in hand, it is so rewarding to see all of the memories you’ve captured for the whole school,” said editor Maggie Thomas.
Also, the journalism department’s website, www.thscurrent.com, won first-place awards for Best News Site and Web Design.
Braden Bishop is the adviser for broadcast and Shari Chumley advises the yearbook staff.