Contest W4: Feature Writing

ASSIGNMENT

You will be writing a feature story using the information below. The story should be approximately 500 words. With the aid of computers this year, we are able to enforce this. Please do not write longer than the word limit.

Please use the information provided below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and/or the Associated Press style manual. Only entries submitted online will be accepted. No exceptions will be made to this rule.

When you submit, you will simply be submitting plain text. Formatting such as italics, bold and underline will not transfer. Also, paragraph breaks will not transfer. To show the judge your intention to create a paragraph break, please use this double-backslash symbol: //  For instance, a passage with two paragraph breaks would look like this:

The school board reversed the policy with an 11-1 vote. // “I disagreed with the decision, but I lost this time,” said board president Yvonnes Nulton. // The policy will go into effect at the start of next school year.

TIMELINE

DIRECTIONS

This contest is meant to be completed individually. Please refrain from seeking help from others while completing this contest.

Failure to follow these directions may result in disqualification from the contest without refund. Please read and follow carefully. 

  1. Read over the prompt presented below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story.
  2. While writing, you may use resources like the AP Stylebook, an online style guide or a dictionary/thesaurus. 
  3. Use whatever technology works best for you while writing your draft. This could be pencil and paper, your cell phone, your computer, etc. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
  4. Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
  5. Type up the final version of your story and submit it here.
  6. Please do not share your draft, notes or ideas about the prompt with others until after the competition deadline.

Here is a link to this contest’s judging rubric.

DESCRIPTION

You are a member of Sunflower High School’s journalism staff. Your editor has asked you to write a feature story with the information provided.

SCHOOL INFO

  • Name: Sunflower High School
  • Location: Clinton, Kansas
  • Mascot: Mighty Buffalo
  • Enrollment: 800 (grades 9-12)
  • School colors: yellow and brown
  • Yearbook: The Sunflower
  • Newspaper: Sunflower News

Contest Info

  • This is an on-site contest. 
  • Do not put your name on the entry. If you do, your entry will be disqualified.
  • Students must not request help or advice from any person other than the KSPA Executive Director Eric Thomas at [email protected], and that advice must be requested before the start of the contest.
  • All work must be solely that of the contestant.

Prompts will be visible at 3 p.m. Feb. 19.

Contest W4

Margot Markert, a junior at Sunflower High, volunteered for Vice President Kamala Harris’s campaign during the 2020 election season. For her AP Government project about leadership in politics, she reached out to the VP and was given a chance to interview her over Zoom. 

Quotes

From Margot Markert, junior 

  • “When Mr. Ebright assigned us this paper, I knew I wanted to do my project on Vice President Kamala Harris. Learning more about her through my work on the campaign, I definitely consider her a role model of mine. I got the idea to ask for an interview from my mom. Her sister is pretty involved in politics, so I asked her for some advice on my letter. Never in a million years did I think I’d receive a response from the Vice President, let alone an interview!” 
  • “Working on the presidential campaign was a dream! Landry and I signed up in August when President Biden announced his running mate was Vice President Harris. We wanted to do everything we could for the campaign since we aren’t 18 and can’t vote yet. We put out a lot of yard signs, did some mailing, wrote thank you cards for supporters, engaged in political discussions online, and so much more.” 
  • “I’ve been interested in politics since I was a little kid. I’ve always dreamed of having a hand in shaping our country. It’s so inspiring to see women like Kamala Harris pave the way for future female leaders.” 
  • “The interview with Vice President Harris was amazing. I was definitely star struck for most of it. We mainly talked about what it meant to be the first female Vice President and how she would define leadership in politics.” 
  •  “Vice President Harris made a good point on political leadership. She said, “It’s not enough to just be a leader in the political sphere. We have tons of leaders in politics, it’s their job to lead. What we need in politics are good leaders. People who understand the hearts and the wills of the people they serve and do good by them; not people who lead with their own intentions.”” 

From Charlie Goddard, senior and president of the Young Democrats Club 

  • “Margot has been a highly involved leader in the Young Democrats club since she was a freshman. She jumps at every chance for leadership and has done a great job recruiting new members this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if she takes over as president after I graduate.” 
  • “When I heard Margot had scheduled an interview with Vice President Harris I was definitely jealous. That is a once in a lifetime opportunity! I’m really happy for Margot and glad the Young Democrats club could support her. We all met on Zoom after Margot got the news and helped her write some questions for the Vice President.”  

From Landry Denton, junior and also worked on the campaign 

  • “Working on the campaign with Margot was the highlight of last semester… well besides Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the election. We went almost every day after school and helped out with whatever they needed. One of my favorite memories was hosting a socially distant watch party for the first debate. We got to set up all the chairs 6 feet apart, hand out masks and hand sanitizer to people when they entered, and sanitize the space when it was over”  
  • “I definitely think Margot will have a career in politics. She is so passionate about it and would make a great leader. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to work on her campaign someday! ” 

From Reed Calloway, junior and student in Mr. Ebright’s AP Government class 

  • “I think it’s super cool Margot did an interview with Kamala Harris, but she definitely only got it because her Aunt is Laura Kelly, the Governor.  I don’t care how enticing your school project sounds, the Vice President doesn’t just do interviews with high schoolers in Kansas.” 
  • “I did my project over Laura Kelly and Margot said she’d ask her aunt for an interview, but never responded to me when I followed up. So guess who didn’t get an interview, didn’t get extra credit and didn’t pass the research paper? That’s right, me.”  

From Jack Ebright, AP Government Teacher 

  • “The Political Leader Research Paper is one of my favorite assignments of the semester. It not only educates the kids on who our politicians are, but also challenges them to identify those politicians who have shown leadership during their time in office.”
  • “I love giving extra credit to students who go above and beyond. I incorporate an opportunity for it in almost every project. It’s not usually an easy task. The students have to put in a lot of effort for it. I see no problem with rewarding hard work.” 
  • “Margot’s interview with Kamala Harris was phenomenal! It really took her project to the next level. What a cool opportunity that was and I’m happy my class could push her to pursue it.” 
  • “Margot has always been one of my most involved students. She already knows so much about the government, but is consistently eager to learn more.” 

Facts from your research

  • Margot Market worked on the campaign for Vice President Kamala Harris from August 2020-November 2020 during the run-up to the general election against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
  • There were 6 students from Sunflower High that worked together on the campaign: Margot Market (junior), Charlie Goddard (senior), Alejandra Velasquez (sophomore), Drew Jones (junior), Ryan Torez (senior) and Allison Chang (senior).
  • Margot’s assignment was for Jack Ebright’s AP Government class. Students were to research a political leader (dead or alive) and write a report on them. The students were encouraged to go outside the box with finding sources for their paper. Extra credit was given to students who used 10 or more relevant sources or conducted interviews with the subject of their papers. 
  • Jack Ebright has worked at Sunflower High for the past 14 years.
  • The interview occurred at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time on January 31st over Zoom and lasted for 22 minutes 
  • Margot Markert and Landry Denton signed up to work on the campaign together once their heard President Joe Biden name Kamala Harris as his running mate 
  • Margot’s aunt is Laura Kelly, the current governor of Kansas (Dem.). 
  • The Young Democrats Club held a watch party for the recording for Margot’s interview, followed by an open discussion on what political leadership looks like in 2021. The event took place on February 6th.