Rock Bridge student newspaper, yearbook win big at J-Day



Led by adviser Robin Stover, the Rock Bridge High School yearbook and newspaper staffs walked away from Missouri Interscholastic Press Association J-Day, a high school journalism competition, with 14 awards and 22 awards, respectively.

High school publications are judged at J-Day based on school size, and awards are given in five categories: newspaper, yearbook, photojournalism, broadcast and diversity of coverage. Two levels of individual student awards are given: ShowMe, or first place, and Superior, or second place. J-Day judges award ShowMes to a maximum of 10 percent of entries per category. There is no limit to how many Superiors can be awarded.

For senior Kristen Williams, yearbook co-editor-in-chief, the biggest accomplishment of the April 5 event was taking home the All-Missouri award, the highest J-Day honor, for last year’s yearbook, themed “Making My Mark.” Pages for this year’s book also earned awards. All in all, the yearbook, Flashback, scooped up four ShowMe awards and 10 Superior awards.

“It’s nice to know that those pages are good for this year’s book,” Williams said.

Williams herself took home a few awards, including one for a tennis spread and some for alternative story form designs. She plans to study graphic design at Truman State University after graduation in May.

Senior Rana Poulton, Flashback managing editor, said seeing shyer students come out of their shells and win awards when they didn’t expect to was the most gratifying part of the J-Day experience.

“When they won, it was extra exciting because it wasn’t expected and it was more of a payoff,” she said.

Poulton won photography awards for a photo story about the Providence Bowl, the rivalry football game between Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools. She also won a Superior award for a sports feature photo. Poulton plans to attend Harding University for nursing in the fall.

Senior Omar Taranissi, co-editor-in-chief of Rock Bridge’s student newspaper, The Rock, said his favorite story he wrote that placed in the competition was a feature about a Rock Bridge teacher who had a near-death experience while she was pregnant. For this story, he won a ShowMe for feature writing.

“I got a really good interview from her,” he said.

Taranissi said 11 of the 15 writing submissions won awards this year. Most of these awards were ShowMes, he said. Overall, The Rock staff went home with 11 ShowMe awards and 11 Superior awards.

“The best thing was that we had a lot of writing awards, a lot more than last year,” he said. “Our photographers also won a lot more than last year. It’s good that we’re improving.”

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