Lakota East student news magazine, The Spark, garnered armfuls of awards at the recent National High School Journalism Convention held in mid-November in Indianapolis. More than 6,200 high school students from 39 states and four countries attended the conference, which is sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association and its partner, the Journalism Education Association.
The magazine earned the first place “Best of Show” cup for news magazines and was one of 21 National Pacemaker Print Publications. The Spark has been a finalist for the Pacemaker award, considered the Pulitzer for high school journalists, 14 times and has won 11.
Senior Emma Stiefel, Spark’s co-chief editor, won the “National Story of the Year” in the news category and former Spark Co-chief Editor Maddie Week finished runner-up in the "Diversity reporting" category. Vivian Kolks, Spark’s opinion editor, finished seventh in the opinion category. The magazine has had eight national NSPA story of the year winners since 1998.
In addition to the stellar writing, Spark’s graphic design also merited high honors. Former Spark Co-chief Editor Christine Shi earned “National Design of the Year” for a spread (two pages that face each other) and second place in Cover Design. Cassie Chryssovergis, Sophia Chryssovergis and Manjot Kalkat earned runner up in National Design of the Year for their informational graphic while Sarah Aftab earned fifth place in the illustration category.
During the conference, students also participate in on-site contests, showcasing their research, writing and editing skills. Congratulations to the following who received excellent awards in the write-off: Caroline Bumgarner, Michelle Chu, Richard Giang, Vivian Kolks, Katie Kruback, Cara Satullo and Emma Stiefel. Spark staff earning honorable mention were: Sarah Aftab, Allie Church, Julianne Ford, Rebecca Holst, Morgan Kile and Victoria Negron.
“These recent awards indicate the quality of work of our Spark team, as well as their dedication and professionalism,” states Suzanna Davis, principal at Lakota East. “We are so proud of the magazine and the time, energy and effort that these students pour into it. It truly is an example of a student-led project because the students are involved in every aspect of the magazine, from writing and design to selling ads and overseeing the production.”