Journalists succeed at state

Taylor Garcia, Staff Writer

Iris Wright, sophomore, won first place at the IHSA state journalism competition in feature writing, and also placed sixth in copy editing.
“I didn’t expect to get anything in feature writing because that was my first time doing it,” Wright said.
After placing first in sectionals writing about a special physical education program, Wright did not expect the topic she was given at state.
“During my interview they actually showed us a real cadaver. It was creepy, but it gave me something to write about,” Wright said.
Although other qualifiers did not place at state, seniors Jack Plewa and David Castellucci were return qualifiers as sectional champions in Newspaper Design and Headline Writing, respectively. Shannon Tierney, junior, also qualified with a third place finish in Photo Storytelling at sectionals.
“I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard I had taken first; I knew my hard work had paid off,” Plewa said.
“It was an exciting, unique experience. I learned a lot,” Castellucci said.
Ultimately, the competition was a great success for the staff and school.
“I couldn’t be prouder. Not only did we bring home a state champion, but three sectional champions! Even the students who didn’t qualify performed well,” Renee Nieckula, adviser, said.
Sectionals allowed for those who competed in years past to analyze their personal growth and see what they have done or not done in order to prepare themselves better for next year, whether that be at the high school or college level.
“It was fun because I had the drive to do better than last year, but at the same time there was a lot of pressure on myself to do better,” Summerlynn Smith, senior, said.
The first time competitors gained some other valuable information that will be helpful to them in future competitions.
“It was very eye opening, when you’re competing with other people you really see how different they are. They finish at different times and ask different questions,” Elizabeth Hsieh, sophomore, said.
The students who participated in the competitions have set goals for themselves that they will work to achieve.
“Next year I’m going to compete at sectionals, hopefully I’ll make it to state,” junior Britney Ebner said.
“[State] was exciting and I hope to make it to state again and place,” Tierney said.