Westside Journalism Department Wins State Competition for Second Year in a Row

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Image courtesy of Westside Community Schools's Twitter

Westside High School's Journalism department recently won the NSAA State Journalism competition for the second year in a row, making them back-to-back champions.

Westside High School’s Journalism department recently placed first in the NSAA State Journalism competition for the second year in a row, on Friday, April 24. Due to COVID-19, there were several changes made to the state competition, one change being that the rankings were decided based on the content produced thus far in the school year. If not for COVID-19, there would have been multiple in person writing competitions held at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, the usual venue for the state competition, that would have also factored into the overall score of each high school’s program. Westside High School Journalism advisors Timothy Kaldahl and Jerred Zegelis said that they are extremely proud of the Journalism students for winning the state competition.

“I am legitimately happy for the [Journalism students],” Kaldahl said. “I wish we could get together as a group and celebrate [as Friday, April 24] was supposed to be our Journalism banquet.” 

Westside Journalism students placed in the categories of Editorial Writing, Entertainment Review Writing, Newspaper Feature Writing, Newspaper News Writing, Sports News Writing, Yearbook Feature Writing, Infographic, In-depth, News Feature Photography, Yearbook Theme, Broadcast News Story, Broadcast Sports Story, and Broadcast Feature Story. Kaldahl and Zegelis said that Journalism Hallway Coordinators and seniors Theo Jansen and Meredith Matz worked with all of the publication’s student editors in order to figure out what content would be entered into the state competition. Matz said that she has enjoyed her position as hallway coordinator as well as the communication and relationships that it has brought.

“Being a hallway coordinator taught me so many things, but the best part of it is having constant relationships and communication with people throughout all the [Journalism] publications,” Matz said. “The culture in [the Journalism] hallway is so strong and is only just beginning.”

Lance Copy Editor and senior Reese Pike won first place in the categories of Newspaper Feature Writing and Newspaper News Writing in the state competition. Pike said that she thought it was fun to see everyone’s work from Westside Journalism recognized at state. 

“It was exciting to win, especially since I wasn’t expecting anything,” Pike said. “I wasn’t planning on competing at state since I didn’t know if I would qualify.” 

Pike said that she would have enjoyed attending the state competition as a senior, and that she will miss all of the friendships she has made within Westside’s Journalism department. 

“I’ll miss being able to talk with so many people from journalism,” Pike said. “I had a lot of amazing experiences with everyone from Lance, and I miss being in class with all those people.”