The trip to Boston for a group of teachers and journalism students at Lee’s Summit West High School was educational, fun and competitive.
The students – 15 in all – and teachers Carol Ullery and Karrie Smythia made the recent trip as part of a yearly journey to compete against more than 2,000 students at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association National High School Journalism convention.
Ullery is the school’s Titan Scroll newspaper advisor and Smythia is the broadcasting advisor.
“Ms. Ullery and my broadcast teacher, Ms. Smythia, are great at helping us with what we want to do in the future,” said Danny Poeschl, a senior at West who also dabbles on the broadcast side. Poeschl, along with Bailey Hamilton and Geena Conrad, were awarded a superior rating in the on-line news package category. “We went to Boston well-prepared.”
“It was super fun,” said Hamilton, a junior at West. “It was really nerve-wracking competing for the first time. I’ve never been on a trip before, but being able to work on a project with Danny and Geena was really fun. It was hard to manage everything, but it ended up well. Ms. Ullery is really good about teaching us what to do.”
Other Lee’s Summit West students capturing awards in Boston last month included Nate Mitchell, who scored a superior rating in photo illustration and Meg Britton-Mehlisch, who nabbed an excellent rating in commentary writing.
Hayden Hulver received an excellent rating in the logo design category.
Honorable mention awards went to Michelle Stout for sports photography; Hailey Skinner, for newswriting; and Jesslyn Jakobe for magazine illustration.
The awards were great, but for Skinner and the rest of the West contingent, the sights and sounds of Boston itself offered its own educational component.
“I loved it,” Skinner, a junior, said of the trip. “I loved being in the big city and seeing all of the history behind it. I really liked it.”
“Boston was great,” Poeschl said. “It was amazing. It was a really cool city. If I had to live anywhere on the East Coast it would be Boston.”
“(The convention) was awesome,” added Mitchell, another senior who has competed at the convention for four straight years. “I’ve gone every year since freshman year and it’s always fun. It’s a trip. It really doesn’t matter to me where we go. We’ve gone to California, Minnesota, San Antonio and Boston. Some places are cooler than others, but it really doesn’t matter; it’s more about hanging out with all my friends and taking a trip away from the chaos here.”
Hamilton said: “I loved the city atmosphere. The people were kind of mean, but it was fun. They have that ‘big-city attitude.’”
Fun aside, and awards firmly tucked away, Ullery said this year’s trip to the annual journalism convention was by far the best trip they’ve had in awhile.
“This year was probably our most successful,” she said. “This year is a great group of kids with some real talent that I’m going to lose. A lot of these kids, the seniors, I’ve had for four years and some them have done the trips with me for four years, so for me, it’s kind of sad because this group is a really talented group.”