SBHS journalism students take state sweepstakes

Members of the Sturgis Brown High School journalism program with the awards they won at the South Dakota High School Press Convention. This is the second year SBHS has won the sweepstakes award in the Class AA category. Pioneer photo by Deb Holland

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STURGIS — The Sturgis Brown High School journalism program is making its mark at the annual South Dakota High School Press Convention.

For the second consecutive year, the SBHS journalists brought home the Class AA Journalism Sweepstakes award, the top award presented at the convention. The sweepstakes is determined by adding together the points given for places in newswriting, photography, newspaper and yearbook.

“Everyone works hard to keep the title,” SBHS junior Shelby Roberts said about winning the sweepstakes. 

Roberts, who has been involved since her freshman year of high school, helped contribute to the win receiving a superior for her editorial on the 50th anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established the free speech rights of students in public schools. She also won an award for photography. 

Roberts said she hopes someday to enter the field of broadcast journalism. 

She believes the success of the program can be directly attributed to SBHS English/Journalism teacher Tere Froelich.

“Miss Froelich pushes us. It helps though because then we get things done,” Roberts said.

Froelich said she is extremely proud of the students and their performance.

“You can only teach so much, but it is up to them to take it to the next level. They have done that,” she said. “They showed that they have the skills, the passion, and enthusiasm for the program.”

Carlyn Oster said she joined the journalism program at Sturgis Brown High School because she likes writing. She won an award for her story about high school students taking college level classes.

Presley Schneider joined journalism because she enjoys taking photos and wanted to be part of designing the yearbook. She earned two awards for photography.

Hannah Wilson admitted she was “kinda” forced into taking the journalism class, but is warming up to the experience.

She won two awards for photography at the recent state convention.

Marissa Makor said she joined the journalism class because she thought it would be fun. Makor received superiors in both newswriting and photography. Her news story was about a visit to SBHS by South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

Ireland Anderson won an award at the state competition for her feature story on the SBHS teacher of the year.

“I joined because I wanted to work on the yearbook. I really like it so far,” she said.

The students said journalism involves a variety of skills to create publications and share newsworthy events. 

Sophomore Ryleigh Richter is in her second year of journalism classes. She has accepted the responsibility of editing activities and organizes pages in the 2019-20 Mato Paha yearbook.

Richter received superior awards for both newswriting and photography.

“I got into journalism because I thought it would be a new way to get involved in the school since I’m not very athletic,” she said.  

State submissions are taken from all three student publications: Bear Butte Breezes student newspaper, Mato Paha yearbook and This ‘N That magazine. 

The state journalism convention, held this year in October at the University of South Dakota, is a way for young journalists to learn about the field of journalism as well as a way to get their work critiqued.

Journalistic Photography winners included the following individuals. Non- school activity: Richter, Roberts and Alex Pannone; school activity: Wilson, Lena Curtis and Schneider; sports: Wilson, Schneider and Makor. All entries received ratings of Superior. Newswriting entry submissions receiving ratings of excellent included Wilson for her feature story and Kylee Wolter for her sports story. The rest of the submissions received Superiors, which included general news writing: Oster, Delainey Allen and Makor; editorial: Allen, Kiara Vetter and Roberts; sports: Allen and Jade Breidenbach; feature stories: Anderson and Richter. 

Mato Paha yearbook received honorable mention and Bear Butte Breezes newspaper received a rating of excellent. Editors of the Bear Butte Breezes are seniors Allen and Jillian Sutton.

Students who have been in the journalism class and club for multiple years said it has given them memories that will impact them for the rest of their lives. 

“Journalism has impacted me in many ways,” Richter said. “It has taught me skills to apply here and out of the classroom.” 

Bear Butte Breezes staff member Riley Buckneberg contributed to this story.

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