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Published December 05, 2022
Individual and team winners were presented awards during the Wyoming High School Student Press Association (WHSSPA) conference held for the first time at the University of Wyoming last month.
More than 200 high school students from across the state gathered in the Wyoming Union to learn more about future careers in journalism, writing, design, photography and other communication-based topics.
The WHSSPA state convention proved to be a success, with the highest number of students participating. This success was crucial for the organization, especially after the annual event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dan Morris, the WHSSPA vice president from Cheyenne.
“As an association, we had lost a lot of momentum due to the COVID shutdown as many groups did. We have spent the last few years trying to reenergize ourselves and our program,” Morris says. “So, we were excited to have the biggest academic institution in the state step in to host the event.”
He adds that, in past years, the association has had about 85-120 students attend the yearly convention.
“For the latest conference, we were shocked at the interest we generated. We were very enthusiastic about that interest, the turnout was great, and we hope everyone had a great time.”
Award winners, listed by division and category, were:
4A/3A yearbook -- All-state champion Casper Kelly Walsh High School and all-state runner-up Cheyenne Central High School.
2A/1A yearbook -- All-state champion Hot Springs County High School and all-state runner-up Greybull High School.
4A/3A newspaper -- All-state champion Powell High School’s The Prowl and all-state runner-up Star Valley High School’s The Mountain Star.
4A/3A yearbook portfolio -- All-state champion Emma Mayfield and all-state runner-up Maddie Steen, both from Cheyenne East High School.
2A/1A yearbook portfolio -- All-state champion Karina Lea and all-state runner-up Tymber Eckley, both from Hot Springs County High School.
4A/3A newspaper design portfolio -- All-state champion Autumn McPherson and all-state runner-up Lilian Jones, both from Cheyenne East High School.
2A/1A newspaper design portfolio -- All-state champion Grainger Russell, Greybull High School.
4A/3A photography portfolio -- All-state champion Maddie Steen and all-state runner-up Kalie Hiller, both from Cheyenne East High School.
2A/1A photography portfolio -- All-state champion Emerald Jordan and all-state runner-up Liz Boyer, both from Greybull High School.
4A/3A video portfolio -- All-state champion Abigail Mickelson, from Cheyenne East High School, and all-state runner-up Sienna Jung, from Cheyenne Central High School.
4A/3A writing portfolio -- All-state champion Calla Shosh and all-state runner-up Taly Wagner, both from Natrona County High School.
2A/1A writing portfolio -- All-state champion Z Larson, Hot Springs County High School.
While the latest WHSSPA annual conference was a huge success, the partnership between the association and UW has been developing since 2019. Cindy Price Schultz, head of the UW Department of Communication and Journalism, suggested UW as a venue for the 2020 conference, but it did not happen because of COVID. Price Schultz believes the recent event was well worth the wait.
“We wanted to make sure we did the best we could and made it the best we could for the students so they could be exposed to the quality and knowledge of the communication and journalism department, as well as the media in Laramie itself,” Price Schultz says. “I think it was important for them to have the opportunity to have exposure with different kinds of media outlets and learn from that diversity.”
Price Schultz says this spirit of learning and exploring the world of journalism, photography and many other communication-related fields is what made the event special.
“It’s good to see students wanting to learn how to write better, how to take quality photos and how to learn about the things that help tell great stories,” she adds.