Contest G: Cutline Writing


You have 32 hours to write five captions for a single spread in the yearbook. For each caption, clearly label the photo number at the top of the caption.

The event taking place in the photos is national signing day for high school football players.

Please use the information provided below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the captions. 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.



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 the 32-hour 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 to write five cutlines for the photos provided with 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 G

Photo #1 

  • The student in the photo is senior Gage Mayhew. 
  • The photo was taken on 2/5/2020 at 2:30 p.m.
  • The national signing day festivities were held in the Sunflower High School gym.
  • A total of six SHS football players signed letters of intent to play collegiate football.
  • Gage Mayhew is committed to play football at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK.
  • Mayhew plays the tight end position. His father, Greg Mayhew, was also a tight end for Oklahoma State when he was in college.
  • “I’m really excited to play for my dad’s alma mater. I know it means a lot to him,” Gage Mayhew says.
  • “I’m going to miss playing football at Sunflower, but I’m ready to move on to the next chapter. I can’t wait to move to Oklahoma,” Mayhew said.



Photo #2 

  • This photo was taken on Feb. 5, 2020 in the Sunflower High School gym
  • Senior Kaleb Wade (left) and senior Bennett Arnold (right) were both wide receivers for the Sunflower High School football team. Both were given All-Kansas football honors.
  • Wade has committed to Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma and Arnold has committed to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Wade and Arnold have been playing football together since they were seven years old. They are also next-door neighbors.
  • “I’m really excited to go play at the next level. But I am going to miss playing with Bennett. We’re basically brothers,” Kaleb Wade said.
  • “It’s crazy that we’ll be in college soon. I’m excited to play against OU next year so I can see Kaleb. It’ll be fun.” Bennett Arnold says.

Photo #3 

  • Sitting next to Greg Mayhew (back) is Nic Dearborn (left), grade 12. He’s signing to play football at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.
  • In the photo, Dearborn is talking to junior Ross Williams (right) who also played for the Sunflower High School football team.
  • “Nic is a great player and I know he’s going to be successful in Arkansas. We’ll miss him here next year!” Williams said.
  • Dearborn plays the positions of cornerback and punter.
  • “I was choosing between Mizzou and Arkansas. In the end, I liked Fayetteville a lot more and I connected better with the coaches at Arkansas,” Dearborn said.
  • During the signing day festivities, several students and teachers attended to show support.
  • Local TV station, KSNF-12, did coverage of the event which was broadcasted on the nightly news on Feb. 5, 2020.

Photo #4

  • Here, SHS athletic director Bob Hutchins takes an iPhone photo of senior Sam Heffernan (left) and senior Nathan Cowley (right).
  • Sam is signing to play defensive end at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri next year. Nathan is playing on the offensive line at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
  • Sam Heffernan’s older brother, Will Heffernan, plays at Missouri State. Will also graduated from SHS.
  • “My older brother is a senior at Missouri State right now. He’s an outside linebacker. I’m really excited to go play with him,” Heffernan said.
  • This photo was taken on February 5, 2020 at 3:00 in the afternoon.
  • The photo was taken after Sam and Nathan had signed their letters of intent
  • “I’m excited to go to SMU because it’s a great school and it aligns with my faith. I think it will be a great experience.” Cowley said.
  • Sam and Nathan are both shotput throwers on the SHS track and field team as well.

Photo #5 

  • In the photo: senior Brady Holcomb (left) and SHS football head coach Trent Bowen (right).
  • Brady signed a letter of intent to play at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK.
  • Brady plays the quarterback position. In his senior season at SHS, he was awarded Kansas state football player of the year.
  • “We’re sad to see Brady go, but we’re excited he’s moving on to bigger and better things. He’ll do great at OSU, I’m sure of it,” Trent Bowen said.
  • Trent Bowen is in his third year of coaching at SHS. He’s also a physical education teacher at SHS.
  • “I toured seven schools when I was deciding where I wanted to play. Oklahoma State just felt right. Plus, orange is my favorite color.” Brady says.
  • In this photo, taken on 2/5/2020, Brady and Mr. Bowen pose for photos taken by Brady’s family.
  • Brady is holding up the Oklahoma State hand sign, which is meant to represent a pistol, referring to Oklahoma State’s mascot, the cowboy.