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Seven student journalists compete at PSPA states

By Cora MacAdam and Nola Zook, staff writers

This spring produced impressive results for Saegertown’s student journalists. After submitting entries earlier in the year, seven newspaper and yearbook journalists qualified for the finals of the Pennsylvania School Press Association’s (PSPA) State Journalism Competition. These students were Evin Barickman, Josie Deeter, Paisley Mangold, Royal Miller, Luthea Sweeney, and Camden Gjovik. The students competed in a wide range of journalistic categories.

The students and their adviser traveled to Penn State main campus on March 30. At this competition, the participants first attended a press conference for Penn State’s Homecoming and took notes on the events. The journalists then had 50 minutes to use their notes and information to complete and submit their entries. Those who attended for a photography category had the day to walk around campus and take pictures for the competition. 

“The environment was quite welcoming,” said Sweeney, who competed in newspaper photography. “Contestants were greeted with cheerful faces and the guest speakers were very animated.”

Several of those who attended the competition stated that being at Penn State was thrilling and had a very professional feel. “It was very intimidating,” said Gjovik, who competed in yearbook photography. “Everything was larger than life coming from small Saegertown to a college campus with thousands of students and more freedom to go and explore and try new things.”

Mangold, who competed in editorial cartoons, and Miller, who competed in broadcast scriptwriting, were both awarded second in their categories. Sweeney took third in newspaper photography, and Deeter placed third in yearbook spread design. Gjovik was fourth in yearbook photography, Slee placed fifth in literary magazine artwork, and Barickman was sixth in newspaper sports writing. 

Journalism adviser Stacey Hetrick, who also serves on the PSPA executive board and is a contest proctor, was thrilled to return to in-person state finals with her students as well as all the qualifiers from across the state. 

“For one hour, I watched the top high school journalists in the state work incredibly hard under super stressful conditions,” Hetrick said.  “I have nothing to offer them but a smile, and I am very humbled to be part of their experience in that way.” 

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Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School

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