Journalism’s Journey

Conestoga Journalism Staff Competes at NSAA State Contest


State journalism medalists, front row (LtoR): John McConnell, Jessica Poirier, Stephanie Poirier, Neil McKim, Danie Parriott, Makenzie Jones, Emory Trofholz. Back row: Gabe Turner-Hickey, Samarion Henry, Josh Lingafelter, Lucas Michel, Jagger Plevel, Olivia Priefert, Taylor McClatchey. (not pictured-Ella Lewis)

Murray, Neb.–On April 26, 2021, members of the Conestoga Journalism staff traveled to Norfolk, Nebraska to compete in the state competition. After a long year of hard work, the students were able to show off some of their amazing talent.

John McConnell, Mackenzie Jones, Emory Trofholz, Lucas Michel, Neil McKim, and Danie Parriott all represented Conestoga at the on-site portion of the championships. Along with these members, Gabe Turner-Hickey, Samarion Henry, Josh Lingafelter, Ella Lewis, Jagger Plevel, Olivia Priefert, Taylor McClatchey, Jessica Poirier and Stephanie Poirier also competed in the preliminary-only events, by submitting work that was not judged during the on-site competition.

Conestoga journalists qualified 18 entries in 15 separate events for the state competition. After the on-site portion of the event was completed, all state qualifiers had to wait until Friday, April 30 to hear the final results. When the awards ceremony was held, the feeling of unease that had filled the minds of the competitors as they had waited for the final results was finally over. “I think everyone felt a great sense of accomplishment hearing the announcer announce our rankings and the places we had received,” says Stephanie Poirier.

The seniors that had been involved had tried their best, and succeeded. Josh Lingafelter (along with Gabe Turner-Hickey) had placed eighth in the broadcast sports feature category, Neil McKim earned seventh place in the advertising category, Jessica Poirier (along with Samarion Henry) placed fourth in the broadcast PSA category. Taylor McClatchey was named champion of the yearbook layout category. Finally, Olivia Priefert won state championships in all three events that she competed in: photo/artistic illustration, broadcast sports feature story, and broadcast news feature story.

A host of underclassmen also produced fantastic results. In the new column writing category, Mackenzie Jones placed eighth and John McConnell placed fourth. John was also crowned state champion in the editorial writing category. Jagger Plevel, Lucas Michel, Stephanie Poirier, and Ella Lewis finished eighth as a team in the in-depth news coverage category. Michel also placed fifth in headline writing and was the runner-up in sports news writing. Emory trofholz finished fourth in sports feature writing and second in yearbook layout. Danie Parriott finished fourth in editorial cartooning and seventh in sports feature writing.

As a team, Conestoga placed third of the 38 teams in the state contest.

The leadership and hard work of all students helped push the team toward the very top of their discipline. With a great sense of accomplishment, the Conestoga journalism team will continue to impress in future years, even without the talents of their amazing seniors.

Thank you, seniors, for helping lead our team into a new frontier of success. You will be greatly missed.