About the Portfolio of the Year Contest

The Kansas Scholastic Press Association recognizes the best individuals in Kansas scholastic journalism in four different categories– design, photojournalism, video and reporting. Based on their submitted portfolios, KSPA judges select the best in each category and division. This contests is open to any student journalist on a staff with a current KSPA membership. Here are the 2022 Portfolio of the Year winners.

Photojournalist of the Year

5A/6A & Overall Winner: 

Katherine Hamilton: Shawnee Mission East High School

Quote about Hamilton’s work from a KSPA judge:

This portfolio really shows strong command of the camera and the ability to read situations where a superlative photo might not be evident and find a truly striking image. The diving photo in particular was an image that stood out in this portfolio, a ‘wow’ image when I clicked on it. Great use of perspective, wide angles, tight cropping and numerous other techniques make Katherine’s images stand out in a competitive competition.”

3A/4A Winner: 

Megan Kueser: Chanute High School

Quote about Kueser’s work from a KSPA judge:

A strong variety of images highlight this portfolio. Great captures of emotion and action, but also some creative shots with light and shutter speed. A keen eye for capturing decisive, storytelling moments with the camera. The celebration photo stands out here. The wrestling photo is a nice image that controlled light well.

1A/2A Winner: 

Michaela Crow: Flint Hills Christian School

Quote about Crow’s work from a KSPA judge:

Technically strong images highlight this portfolio, as well as a discerning eye for storytelling moments. Really enjoyed the white elephant photo and the performance photo of the students raising their hands.

Videographer of the Year

5A/6A & Overall Winner:

Melanie Wolf: Maize Center Academy

Quote about Wolf’s work from a KSPA judge:

Solid, clear, well-paced delivery of stories well done. Lanie Wolf sets up her stories to be told by the sources themselves, supports them with solid B-roll, plus strong audio and editing skills for quality video packages. Her anchoring reflects a confident presence with strong eye contact to connect to viewers. The saying ‘tell a story with heart’ is taught in broadcast classrooms time and time again – Lanie listened. Lanie delivered.”


[arve url=”https://vimeo.com/657839609″ aspect_ratio=”560:315″ loop=”no” muted=”no” /]

See more of Wolf’s work:

Grill family bonds through basketball

Vaughn Decker running toward excellence

E&L take on Compass Nutrition

School Safety in USD 266

Designer of the Year

5A/6A Winner& Overall Winner

Peyton Moore: Shawnee Mission East High School

Quote about Moore’s work from a KSPA judge:

Peyton uses all the tools in a designer’s toolbox – texture, space, color, font to create interesting designs, all with a voice appropriate to the topic. Peyton combines photos and graphics with ease. The collection of cobs and use of them on pages are well done and interesting. The font choices in each design are superb and add to the design’s overall voice. In the full page designs submitted, space is used with awareness. Readers don’t feel crowded by content. Peyton uses repeated elements to move readers through designs. On pages like the basketball spread, Peyton provides readability while allowing multiple entry points. Each design provided me with a WOW element that excited and surprised me. Content was interesting, easy to read and enjoyable.”

3A/4A Winner

Delaney Johnson: Bishop Miege High School

Quote about Johnson’s work from a KSPA judge:

Delaney has strong illustrative skills. Delaney understands how to layer design, creating fore, middle and background in design. Through use of shade and size, she is able to create depth. The CryptoCraze page is a great example of how to use graphics and shapes to still have visuals without photography. Delaney’s ability to repeat color and blend color (using a variety of color harmonies throughout her examples) is superb. This use of color and shape never distracts from readability. Delaney creates dominant elements and then allows readers to easily move through content with visual guides. Delaney provides readers with multiple points of entry with quote collections, graphs and by the numbers, as well as other sidebar content.  Delaney’s design voice varies, but is appropriate to the variety of topics. A great variety of designs and skills.”

1A/2A Winner

Michaela Crow: Flint Hills Christian School

Quote about Crow’s work from a KSPA judge:

Michaela shows a clear understanding of use of color – combining tints and shades in interesting ways that both reflect understanding of color and trend. Michaela’s designs have a sense of movement to them. Michaela combines fonts in a way that shows implementation of both voice and style. Michaela selects dominant photos that have emotion or action – this surely appeals to readers. Michaela understands how to use spacing to provide unity or division where appropriate. This created multiple points of entry for readers and interesting blocks. Michaela provides great reader services via drop caps to lead them into text and pull quotes to pull them into content. Michaela shows a developing design voice and technical skills with creating a beautiful product for readers.”

Writer of the Year

5A/6A & Overall Winner:

Katie Murphy: Shawnee Mission East

Quote about Moore’s work from a KSPA judge:

This competition brought together some impressive student journalists who are masterful storytellers, and sophomore Katie Murphy surges to the top of the list. Her submissions demonstrate an exceptional insight in storytelling, reporting and writing, and it leads with commentary in the most effective approach — with specifics that show us the perspective with clarity and compassion. Excellent work.”


Alena Gillespie: Bishop Miege High School

Quote about Gillespie’s work from a KSPA judge:

Alena Gillespie’s short profiles stand out as superior. With crisp leads and sentences, she shares specific details and insightful direct quotes for eight feature subjects — and a rich diversity of student life. Similarly, her stories on the new lacrosse team and the summer camp are a showcase for rich direct quotes from sources. Great. job.”