Contest C: Editorial Cartoon


You have 32 hours to create an editorial cartoon regarding the issue described in the news story below. Your cartoon will run on the editorial page, but it may not have an editorial (or the news story below) next to it. In other words, your cartoon should be able to stand on its own and express a clear opinion about the issues in the story below.

Please use the information provided below. 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.


  • 3 p.m. April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 p.m. April 18: contest submission due


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. Please use pen (preferably black) and unlined paper to create your cartoon.
  2. Please photograph your cartoon. A few tips on photographing your cartoon. 
    1. Put your cartoon in good light. “Good light” means indirect light (not in a big stream of direct sunshine) and natural light (not a lamp or other electrical lighting).
    2. Prop up your cartoon so that you aren’t blocking any light on the cartoon. If you don’t tilt it in this way, you will cast a shadow on your cartoon when it is photographed.
    3. See the photo at right to see how to arrange this:
  3. Please upload your cartoon.
    1. The image of your cartoon, when uploaded, will need to be a jpg. Many smartphones use image files (such as HDR files or HEIC files). Our submission system will not allow these files. To convert your image to a jpg, you can often simply email it to yourself and your phone will likely convert the file to jpg in the process. The emailed file is the one that you should submit.
    2. Log in to Better BNC submission platform to submit your cartoon. Your school’s login information has been sent to your adviser. If you need directions on using the Better BNC submission system, use this guide here.
  4. Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
  5. Please do not share your draft, notes or ideas about the prompt with others until the 32-hour competition window closes.

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


You are a member of Sunflower High School’s journalism staff. Your editor has asked you create an editorial cartoon using the information provided. 


  • 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. April 17.

Contest C

‘May I have this online dance?’ 

Many in-person high school proms may be out this year, but some teens are determined to make online proms happen.

As schools across the U.S. shut down in order to curb the spread of coronavirus, high schoolers are having to come to terms with the possibility that their proms will be canceled.

Widely considered a rite of passage for high school seniors, prom is a quintessential American tradition that, along with graduation, often symbolizes the end of one chapter in life and the beginning of a new one. But with the situation surrounding COVID-19 still evolving, prom and graduation cancellations are top of mind for many students.

And while some of the wide variety of events that have been put on hold due to coronavirus have been rescheduled for later dates, at this point, it seems like many in this year’s graduating class might simply have to forego some of their final high school experiences — at least in their traditional sense.

Sunflower High senior Sierra Kemper said although she and her friends had already started thinking about logistics, like how to color-coordinate their outfits and rent a party bus, she has now pretty much resigned herself to the fact that her school’s prom will be canceled.

“It’s just so disappointing,” she said. “I know that all of my friends are extremely crushed and a lot of them are honestly in denial. They think that we’re somehow still going to figure out a way to make it happen.”

Unfortunately, that may not be the case.

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended suspending gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. Two days later, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said that most of the state’s schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the school year, meaning all school-organized events will probably be canceled as well.

Students at Sunflower High School are looking to technology for social distancing-friendly ways to celebrate the end of the school year with their friends.

SHS seniors Zane Morrissey and Chase Williams and junior Walt Holden said they’re planning to host a virtual party on the video conferencing service Zoom, dubbed a “Zoom Rager,” as a test run for virtual prom.

“We’re going to try out Zoom and get who we can from school on it and maybe even play some music over it, and just have fun together,” Williams said.

However, Morrissey notes that, if they want to have more than 100 people at the party like they would at “regular prom,” they’ll have to upgrade to Zoom Pro.

Meanwhile, Sunflower High School senior Jamie Lyle said she’s planning to host prom in her living room while FaceTiming her friends.

“We’re all going to do a huge group FaceTime. I’ll put on music and we’ll go in the expensive dresses and tuxes that we already bought to get ready for prom,” she said. “I tweeted and was just like, ‘This is what’s going to happen. It’s going to be in my living room. You guys can send me a song for the playlist and that will be your ticket. You can invite whoever. I don’t really care because we’re all just going to be on a group FaceTime.’”

Lyle notes that before schools started shutting down, her mom bought her a special dress that she now probably won’t get to wear to a real prom.

“My mom is actually very upset that I won’t be able to experience all of the things that my older sister did and that my younger sister will [in the future],” she said.

Kemper said she and her friends also want to find a way to show off the dresses they bought in preparation for the big dance, as many of them are non-returnable.

“We are all very much still thinking that we’re going to get dressed up and take pictures in some form or another,” she explained. “The whole social gathering aspect of prom just isn’t going to happen anymore.”

Morrissey said that he thinks it’s important to find ways to celebrate these high school milestones to keep his classmates’ spirits up in the midst of everything going on throughout the world.

“Second semester of senior year is stereotypically not really a big time for learning and more a time to celebrate everything that we’ve done in high school,” he said. “Since everyone is quarantined and on their own right now, we still want to find ways to bring people together even if we can’t actually be together.”

Williams adds that, if they don’t end up returning to school, he thinks these virtual get-togethers could give the seniors a chance to properly say goodbye to one another.

“This last Friday when we all heard that we probably wouldn’t be returning on Monday, there was a weird feeling because we didn’t really know how serious it was,” he said. “I didn’t go around and say goodbye to everyone because it just felt strange. It didn’t feel like it was the end of everything. So I think it’s really important to reconnect with these people that we spent the last four years with and enjoy what we can with them while all of this is going on.”

For his part, Holden said although he has a full year of high school left, he’s sad that his friends aren’t getting the full second-semester-senior experience.

“Us juniors feel sad that it’s their last year. It’s second semester, it’s supposed to be the best part of high school,” he explained. “But sadly, it’s just not going according to plan.”

However, Kemper said while she’s “devastated that our final memories of high school are being taken away from us,” she understands that this is the safest path forward and has even managed to find a silver lining in the situation.

“I’ve been reading a lot about how canceling all of these events is a good thing in some ways because we’re really limiting conspicuous consumerism and pollution,” she said. “I know that after homecoming I’ve seen every single trash can overflowing and just so much waste, so this way there isn’t going to be another huge event that’s really detrimental to the environment.”

As for graduation, the other major end-of-year event for high school seniors, Williams said that even though he’s not sure it will happen, he’s not worried.

“It would be sad to not be able to see everyone walk the stage and get everything they deserve,” he said. “But I mean, we can probably find a way around that too. We’re trying to improvise with this.”