50th Anniversary Luncheon at KU

A reunion of the wonderful and dedicated people who helped KSPA arrive at its 50th anniversary. Join us to celebrate our history and our future!

  • What: A celebration of the people who brought KSPA to its 50th year
  • When: Saturday, May 4, 2024 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: The Kansas Union at the University of Kansas (Jayhawk Room)
  • Who: Current and former KSPA advisers, KSPA Hall of Fame members, supporters of student journalism and their guests
    • This event is not intended for KSPA students unless they are the guests of KSPA honorees
  • Cost: $20 per person

Special Honors: During the luncheon we will honor . . .

  • the 2024 recipient of the Sunflower Award for new teachers
  • two 2024 Friend of KSPA award winners
  • our 2024 Administrator of the year 
  • Plus, two new inductees to the KSPA Hall of Fame

Don't miss out!

  • Saturday, May 4: KSPA Luncheon at KU in May

Countdown to the luncheon

Kansas student press history before KSPA's founding

There were many organizations and events that preceded the Kansas Scholastic Press Association as supports for student journalists in Kansas:

First Contest

“Kansas State Agricultural College” (now Kansas State University) hosted the “FIRST ANNUAL KANSAS HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER CONTEST”




Conferences at KU

University of Kansas journalism school held annual student journalism conferences as statewide gatherings





Decades of contests

University of Kansas sponsors a high school newspaper contest. The only years that were missed were due to World War II







The first teachers' group

Kansas Council of Teachers of Journalism is formed







Another student press group

The Kansas Interscholastic Press Association (KIPA) operated as an organization








Another group for teachers

A fledgling and eventually failed group, the Kansas Council of Publication Advisers, begins










KOPA begins

More than 50 advisers enrolled as charter members in the Kansas Organization of Publications Advisors (KOPA). Membership dues were $1.











KOPA moves to KU

KOPA informs KSU “Department of Technical Journalism” that they intend to relocate to the University of Kansas












First Courier newsletter

The first issue of the Courier, the newsletter of KOPA, is published in May













Standing together

KOPA and KSPA (Kansas Scholastic Press Association) exist as parallel organizations.













1960s & 1970s

KSPA History

Since its founding in 1974, KSPA has been a constant support for student journalists in Kansas.

First KSPA contest

While still a part of KOPA, KSPA hosts its first contest in April







KSPA's founding

KSPA constitution is “Approved at the annual meeting of KOPA/KSPA in Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday, March 30, 1974”






First Student Journalist of the Yer

John Milburn of Pittsburg High School earns the first award for Kansas Student Journalist of the Year








Honoring supportive administrators

Gary Graber of Nickerson High School is named the first Administrator of the Year










Protection for student free expression

The Kansas Student Publications Act is signed into law by Governor Joan Finney, providing protections for student journalists and their teachers










The first Hall of Fame inductees

The first inductees to the KSPA Hall of Fame are announced: 17 teachers and university faculty









Honoring Jackie Engel

Jackie Engel, the “mother of KSPA,” passes away at the age of 81 after a career at McPherson High School. The highest teaching award for Kansas journalism advisers is named after her.










A Fake Principal Goes Viral

The “Pittsburg 6,” six students from Pittsburg High School, force the resignation of their newly hired principal by exposing her fake credentials, making international news











25th anniversary of student press law

To mark the anniversary of the Kansas Student Publications Act, hundreds of students gather in Topeka for an overnight conference at a hotel.












Honoring student courage

KSPA awards its first Courage in Journalism Awards to two students from different schools: Shawnee Mission North and Blue Valley Northwest













Through the pandemic

KSPA contests and awards continue through pandemic lockdowns that closed schools, allowing students to continue competing