Journalism staff named Pacemaker winners 14 members attended this convention

While holding their awards, journalism staff members gather for a group photo before going back to the hotel. The award ceremony was held at the Washington State Convention Center. “The most stressful part of my [competition] was making sure that I got as much information as I could possibly get from the speakers,” junior Julia Cox said. “Without that information, I wouldn't be able to successfully write an effective news story.” Photo Credit: Mr. LaPorte

From April 6-9, high school journalism students and advisers nationwide gathered in Seattle, WA for the annual spring JEA/NSPA convention. Not only did staff members attend workshop sessions to gain new ideas for their publication, but also participated in write-offs to prove their skills.

“A particular highlight of the conference was a session that focused on the do’s and don’ts of photography,” sophomore Kenneth Talusan said. “Not only was it an interesting session, but the instructor didn’t make it as boring as the other sessions. They didn’t read off a card or off a slideshow, and they interacted with the attendees by seeing cameras people brought in and testing settings for different situations.”

Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Southwest Shadow, seniors Alexis Drevetzki and Althea Gevero, held two workshop sessions of their own named “1+1=Our Staff” and “How to be E.I.C.”

“Being able to teach a workshop with my best friend and co-Editor-in-Chief was one of the highlights of my journalism career,” Gevero said. “This program has been so gratifying to be a part of, and standing at the front of that room helped me realize how far I’ve come as a student journalist. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

During breaks and after sessions, the staff traveled around the Seattle to visit attractions like the EMP Museum and the Seattle Cinerama Theatre.

“I loved going to Pike Place Market and meeting everyone there,” junior Jackie Romo said. “The people there are so unique; it’s incredible. The market was filled with so many cute little shops and everyone there was incredibly nice. I think the weather in Seattle really made the atmosphere better–gray clouds and sweet smelling roses is the perfect combination for a day of exploring the market.”

Staff members received a total of 11 individual awards. The Howl was awarded Pacemaker Finalists. The online news site won second in Best-in-Show and a Pacemaker award.  

“It was awesome that the yearbook was recognized nationally as a finalist,” journalism adviser Matthew LaPorte said. “Every year the staff gets a little bit closer to meeting their goals.”

Honorable Mention
Julia Cox – News Writing
Kenneth Talusan – Student Life

Cassie Valdez – Commentary Writing
Zhen Yu – Logo Design
Jewel Granados – Advertising Design
Kiara Ivas – First Year Photo

Alexis Drevetzki, Althea Gevero, Arielle Fernandez – Online News Package
Kiana Tibule – Academic Yearbook Copy & Captions
Russel Valdez – Yearbook Layout Inside Pages

“When they called my name for the award, I didn’t even realize they said my name,” sophomore Kiara Ivas said. “It was a shock to me that my competition photo won an award. Next year, I hope to win a Superior award.”

The next JEA/NSPA fall convention will be held in Dallas, TX from Nov. 16-19. It was also announced that the following spring 2018 convention will be held in San Francisco, CA from April 12-15.

“I am super excited for next year’s trip because it’ll sadly be my last fall trip in high school,” junior Justine Ho said. “The workshop sessions are something I am excited for because I am learning more about different ways to make our Journalism staff better. Next year, I want to redeem myself and actually win an award since I know the expectations of the feature photography competition, and if I actually win an award next year, that’ll really make my senior year worth all my hard work from previous years.”

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