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Whitney High earns Best in Show

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Traveling home Sunday evening from Kansas City, Whitney High School students might have been discouraged by a lengthy layover followed by a two-hour delay, But instead the mood was light as Details yearbook staff members continued to celebrate their second-place victory in the Best of Show competition, a national yearbook contest sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association. Their trip to Kansas City with WHS journalism teacher Sarah Nichols was to attend the Fall National High School Journalism Convention, an event that drew more than 4,500 delegates from around the country, representing high school programs in yearbook, newspaper, magazine, photography and other forms of student media. Students heard keynote speeches from professional journalists, attended breakout sessions, competed in on-site competitions and took day-long seminars in writing, photography and digital imaging. “Spending five days with people who have the same passion as you do is so cool. I learned so much from the professionals and from people all around the country and gained so much confidence about myself as a photographer with teachers and pros answering all of my questions right there with me,” said Whitney High student Kenya Palla. “And during the yearbook awards ceremony I was holding my breath the whole time. Winning second place was so exciting.” The big yearbook win on Saturday wasn’t the only award bestowed upon the Whitney delegation. Nichols received the Medal of Merit from the Journalism Education Association, an award given for significant contributions to scholastic journalism on the national level. Nichols accepted the award at a luncheon Saturday surrounded by 300 other journalism teachers. “Past recipients of this award are some of my lifelong heroes and mentors in journalism education, so to say that this honor is humbling doesn’t even come close. Working with students at WHS is my day-to-day highlight but it’s also incredibly rewarding to be part of scholastic journalism on a larger scale and participate in this national Professional Learning Community,” Nichols said. Students are already excited for next fall’s national convention in Minneapolis, but they know the continuous cycle of deadlines awaits them first. Details yearbook staff members are working toward their first major deadline for the 2011 volume, as students enrolled in Publications I-IV classes are currently refining their stories, photos and designs during class each day. Journalism students who produce The Roar newsmagazine and the news site WhitneyUpdate.com feel the deadline crunch as well but said they are motivated by their experience at the convention. ~Staff report