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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Skyline journalists collect awards in Boston

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  • Three Skyline seniors were recognized nationally for their journalistic abilities. They traveled to Boston, Mass. with eight other Skyline student journalists in mid-November to attend a journalism convention sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.
    Senior Kaitlyn Stark won a Superior rating for Yearbook Caption Writing in the JEA Write-off competition while at the convention. Seniors Ethan Ailstock and Ascha Lee won Honorable Mention awards for Yearbook Club Writing and Newswriting.
    "It's pretty cool," Ailstock said. "I guess I did something right."
    Almost 5,500 high school students were present at the convention. The 2013 Thunderbird yearbook "True Blue" won a Best of Show award, receiving 10th place out of all the small books submitted by schools in attendance.
    The convention is held twice a year, each time from a different venue. Boston, where the nation's first newspaper was printed and the country's first public library is located, was a fitting choice for the 2013 NSPA/JEA Fall Convention.
    Preparation for the trip started in September. Students got donations from various Pratt businesses and put together goodie baskets. Cumulatively, the students raised over $2200 for airfare by accepting donations from family and friends for the baskets.
    Every student raised their own money to help pay for their plane ticket. If they raised more, they could use that extra money for other trip expenses such as food and subway tickets.
    The hotel rooms were paid for by selling sports buttons, team photos and advertisements for sports programs. After everything was added up, students only had to take enough money with them for food and any other extra spending.
    "I bought a lot of coffee while I was there," junior Jenessa Corbet said with a laugh.
    Corbet's stepfather, Dr. Ian Kovach, an alumni of Harvard and MIT in Boston, went on the trip with the group as a chaperone. He helped the students navigate around the city and told them about the history of Boston, as he lived there for 11 years before moving to Pratt.
    "It was really amazing having Ian along on our trip," publications adviser Judy Hampel said. "He was like our own personal tour guide."
    Students were able to see many different Boston sites during their free time, such as the Harvard campus, Fenway Park, New England Aquarium and the historical landmarks on the Freedom Trail. The rest of their time was spent at the Hynes Convention Center, where sessions were held that taught students how to be better journalists.
    "The sessions gave us lots of new and creative ideas that we could take and use," senior Abby Giles said. "They were also really entertaining."
    Every student learned something and made unforgettable memories in the process.
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