Students win awards at national journalism convention


Students pose for a picture at the National Journalism Convention in Orlando, FL.

Eight Oakville High School students won awards during the write-off competitions at the National Journalism Convention in Orlando, FL.

The convention lasted four days. Students attended various sessions to strengthen their journalism skills and compete in write-offs. Over 2,000 students competed in the write-off competitions, which were sponsored by JEA, Journalism Education Association. Of these students, only 712 earned an award. The awards included: superior (equivalent to first), excellent (equivalent to second), and an honorable mention (equivalent to third); JFA considers each award an accomplishment.

Two winning OHS students stood out in particular: Caroline Tank, who won a Superior rating in newspaper commentary, and Veronica Mohesky, who won an excellent rating in broadcast on-air reporting.

“Going into it, I didn’t really have any idea of what I was supposed to do. And so it was really surprising to me that I won something, much less the highest award you can get. I still think it’s a mistake,” Tank said.

“She (Hannah Hoffmeister) wanted me to read the results myself, but from her text I could kind of guess I had won something, but of course I still didn’t expect a superior rating. When I found out I was very tired, but I still felt excited. I celebrated on the inside,” Tank said when asked how she found out and celebrated.

Other Oakville High School students who won honorable mentions included Hannah Hoffmeister in newspaper sports writing, Cassidy Vuylsteke in yearbook copy and captions for clubs, Mollie Kohler in broadcast commentary, and the broadcast team of Johanna Carrigan, Jacque Dreppard, and Kassidy Ham for an online news package (their news package, A Magical Convention, can be found under the “Top Stories” tab).

“I was totally surprised that I got an honorable mention. It definitely boosted my spirits when I found out I won,” Cassidy Vuylsteke said.

Of all the high schools in the St. Louis area, only Kirkwood High School beat OHS for the number of awards won by its students. Kirkwood won 12 awards while OHS won eight.