Students from Montezuma-Cortez High School’s journalism and yearbook programs took home six awards at Colorado Mesa University’s 26th annual Media Days competition March 7.
The awards came in the small schools category, in which about eight other schools were competing, said M-CHS journalism adviser Debra McVicker. Senior Daniel Wagner took first place for news writing, and freshman Louis Gonzales took second place for sports news or feature story. The Panther Press staff, including senior Julia Damore-Rome, Bridgett Damron and Garrett Damron, took first and second place for newspaper page design.
“It was a cool, hands-on learning experience,” Damore-Rome said.
The students also attended some conferences and workshop sessions at the event, led by Colorado Mesa University faculty members. Gonzales said he attended a feature-writing workshop where he learned some tips for making his writing stronger.
“I learned how to find the balance between details and crucial information,” Gonzales said.
Damore-Rome and Bridgett Damron said they attended a two-hour news design workshop, led by a CMU web design instructor. They were given tips on news design do’s and don’ts and participated in a hands-on design activity, Damore-Rome said.
Wagner said he attended several round-table discussions on news editing.
The Panther Press staff submitted its first two issues for consideration at the competition. One issue included a spread about student government at the high school, and another issue featured the M-CHS band program.
Two M-CHS yearbook students from the 2014-15 staff also won awards at the competition. M-CHS alumna Elaine Le won first place for best yearbook copy for a story she wrote on the 2015 prom. The yearbook staff, led by editor Gabby Begay, won second place for best all-around yearbook.
The M-CHS journalism group is preparing for a trip to Los Angeles from April 14-17 for the 2016 National High School Journalism Convention, McVicker said. The event, put on by the Journalism Education Association and the National Student Press Association, features workshops, keynote speakers and critique sessions. The group received a donation from Ballantine Communications and has put on several fundraisers to offset expenses for the trip, McVicker said.
The high school journalism program only has five students this year, McVicker said. She hopes to get ten students involved next year so she can start a broadcast journalism class, she said. The program received two new video cameras, donated by Wal-Mart, she said. Next year she also hopes to focus on social media journalism, McVicker said.
Damore-Rome said the group learned information at the Media Days event that they can bring back and apply to future Panther Press issues.
“We’re more experienced now,” she said. “We’ve learned things.”