Nationally-acclaimed staff

EHS publications staff goes to conference, comes back nationally recognized


Elisha Strecker

Front Row: Becca Newton, Lily Dean, Audrey Nettles, Kaylee Todd, Sarah Myers and Regan Peterson. Back Row: Maria Perez, Jackson Blackwell, Chase Baker and Kate Laubacker. Nov. 15.

The EHS publications room is unlike any other classroom. With constant use of teamwork and problem solving, staff members use skills that cannot be acquired in any other class. Staffers gain skills that will be of use throughout their careers.

The publications staff attended the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 16-19 and received several awards on a national level for their work and also learned from professional journalists about the field.

The annual convention hosted 4,917 student journalists from across the country. From attending sessions of college professors and advisers to hearing keynote speakers who have traveled across the globe, 10 EHS publications staff members explored a variety of aspects of journalism.

“The biggest thing I can take away from the conference is that, as journalists, we have a very important voice to tell,” Maria Perez, EHS-hub reporter, said. ”We have to highlight a lot of different voices in different communities, careers and it’s our job to make those voices known.”

The publications staff entered contests in writing and photography, as well as receiving feedback on yearbook pages about design, coverage and theme at a critique with a former yearbook adviser. Out of the hundreds of schools that attended the conference, four EHS publications staff members received accolades for their talent. The Eurekana yearbook placed 9th Best of Show.

“I was still co-production editor so I had a pretty big role in making the book and to see it do so well is pretty incredible,” Sarah Myers editor-in-chief of Eurekana yearbook, EHS-Hub and Eureka broadcast news, said. “Especially since last year we got an All American, it is such a rewarding feeling to see us win back to back national awards after all of the work that we have put in start to finish.”

Myers and Perez received awards in the “Write offs” at the convention. Their contests entries then ranked as Superior, Excellent or Honorable Mention. Myers received an “Excellent” in News Writing after joining the EHS-hub to take on the role of editor-in-chief at the beginning of August. Perez received an Honorable Mention in Feature Writing after having to overcome technical difficulties.

“I’m happy with my award. During the contest itself you were allowed to use a recording device like a phone, but my phone ran out of battery right before the contest,” Perez said. “I had to write down everything the speaker said by hand, which is very stressful. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have anything good to put in my story. I had a few things that I was able to put in. The fact that I won an award for it was like, ‘Wow! even under pressure I could figure it out.’”

Photographers had a chance to submit photography portfolios with a maximum of eight images to judges at the conference to get judged and critiqued. Lily Dean, Eurekana production editor, received an Honorable Mention in Photography Portfolio.

“I feel like I should be super proud about getting this award, but I’m a little disappointed,” Dean said. “I wanted to do better, but it is still good that I got an honorable mention because it’s a lot of people. I wish I could have done better.”

Audrey Nettles, Eurekana yearbook staff, received an excellent in first year photography.

“I thought it was cool to be recognized and that out of all the people who entered that contest my photos got recognized,” Nettles said. “Even though I’m still working on becoming a better photographer, my work is still good.”

All three staffs put at least two hours after school every day taking pictures of sports, clubs and events. When staff members are not taking photos, they’re reading spreads or meeting to plan what stories need to be told on the website. Hard work continued throughout the summer in camps, such as Media NOW, Journalism STL or the Indiana University National High School Journalism Institute, where EHS publications staffers acquired different tips and tools to better themselves and the publication.

“It’s nice to see our students get recognized for their hard work,” Elisha Strecker, adviser, said. “They work hard not because someone’s asked them to or for their resume, but because they believe in their work and its importance to the school and community.”

After joining the Eurekana staff as a sophomore, Dean continued to develop skills in photography and a love for yearbook over the three years.

“It makes me very hopeful,” Dean said. “This yearbook is my baby. I’m disappointed that I can’t go to the conference again and hopefully see it win something.”

The EHS-Publication was able to bring the Eureka name to a national conference and walk away with a big title. The students who recognize others finally got a chance to be recognized.

“When you go out there and throw your product out to compete against others and you come back with 9th place in that group, that’s something to be very, very proud of,”  Charlie Crouther, head principal, said.

Moving forward to the next semester, staffers that went to the conference will bring the positive feedback they earned from critiques and awards back to the classroom.

“I hope that as editor-in-chief, I can encourage staffers to go after what they love,” Myers said. “I like to think we have left a legacy as a publication staff, and I want to not only continue that throughout the rest of the year, but onto following years as well.”