Kansas Scholastic Press Association..

Daisy Bolin receives 2018 Kansas Student Journalist of the Year

Other winners: Natalie Lindsey of Rock Creek Jr/Sr High for 3A/4A and Dylan Babcock of Lincoln Jr/Sr High for 1A/2A.


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The Kansas Scholastic Press Association congratulates Shawnee Mission East senior Daisy Bolin on winning the statewide honor of the 2018 Kansas Student Journalist of the Year. Bolin is the Head Copy Editor for The Harbinger, the school’s newspaper and online news site.

The overall winner is chosen among the winners of three different enrollment classifications: 1A/2A, 3A/4A and 5A/6A. In the other divisions, Rock Creek Jr/Sr High School student Natalie Lindsey was named 3A/4A Student Journalist of the Year, while Lincoln Jr/Sr High School student Dylan Babcock earned the 1A/2A honor.

In a surprise announcement Thursday, Bolin’s fellow publications students and her adviser Dow Tate gathered in her high school publications room to hear the results of the award. KSPA executive director Eric Thomas called to award Bolin with a plaque and a scholarship check for $1,250 as the overall winner.

Winners from the other divisions received checks for $750 and celebrated with their staffs and schools during this week.

Bolin’s portfolio also advances to judging by the national Journalism Education Association committee. That committee will name the national winner of the award at the convention in San Francisco during an awards ceremony April 14.

A panel of judges chose Bolin’s work from among a collection of 12 portfolios submitted by KSPA member schools. The judges are former high school publications advisers, university instructors and professional journalists.

KSPA also thanks the dozen journalists from around the state who applied for this award. It takes dozens of hours to construct such a portfolio and gather the necessary materials. Simply applying for this award is a huge accomplishment.

Daisy Bolin: Overall Winner and 5A/6A Student Journalist of the Year

  • School: Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas
  • Adviser: Dow Tate
  • Publication: Harbinger Online
  • Student portfolio website: click here

    Bolin celebrates with classmates Thursday afternoon, Feb. 15. Photo by Lucille Morantz.

Bolin’s application showcases a variety of practices from writing and news gathering to journalism law and ethical studies. The judges praised Bolin for her progressive leadership experience and ability to work effectively with others.

The judges reviewed Bolin’s application and provided these compliments:

  • Teaching your staff members is an outstanding act of leadership. That they listen to you says a lot about them–and your character!”
  • “Your preparation for one story is more than many journalists do in the course of many stories. Strong feature writing. It is evident you are not afraid of hard work.”
  • You have the heart of journalist and storyteller.”
  • “Your stories leave a lasting impression.  That comes from the research and understanding how it can impact readers.  Well done.”

In her essay of application, Bolin wrote about overcoming health issues by immersing herself in journalism and telling stories. She sums up her understanding and patience with these issues by connecting them back to her love of storytelling:

“Just as I will carry my scar forever, I will carry storytelling forever. My passion is journalism and I can only keep digging for the hidden stories, scooping the competition and combining those skills with as many forms of media as I can. Fully immersing myself in this field thus far has written my story — the story of a girl who learned empathy from pain and used her lesson to help others feel that too.”

Candid photo of Bolin working on a story for The Harbinger newspaper

Her adviser Dow Tate wrote in his letter of recommendation:

“Daisy’s a tough, responsible and driven young woman. […] On a true student-run publication, she’s everything you’ll want in a leader and editor. She will get the job done and done well, while making others around her better in the process.”

Bolin has previously attended an intensive 13-day summer workshop hosted by the California Scholastic Press Association. Rich Hammond, Vice President of CSPA, wrote in his letter of recommendation:

“Daisy can write breaking news but particularly shines in storytelling. Her piece about a classmate with a chronic stomach illness was compelling and comprehensive and is the type of deep, emotional story not commonly produced by a high school student.”

The board and staff of KSPA congratulate Daisy Bolin on her award-winning application and portfolio. We wish her the best luck in the upcoming competition for national student journalist of the year.

Publications Adviser, Dow Tate, holds up his cell phone as Daisy Bolin's Kansas Student Journalist of the Year award is announced. Photo by Grace Goldman.

Natalie Lindsey: 3A/4A Student Journalist of the Year

  • School:Rock Creek Jr/Sr High School, St George, Kansas
  • Adviser: Jessica Augustine
  • Publication: Westmoreland Official Weekly Newspaper
  • Student portfolio website: Click here

    Natalie Lindsey

Lindsey’s portfolio showcases her work in entrepreneurship, leadership, web, photojournalism, editing, design, broadcast, news gathering and writing. Judges also noted her unique approach to utilizing social media tools and her insight into the role of music and journalism.

Lindsey’s portfolio inspired these comments from the judges:

  • It’s so nice seeing students who not only have a breadth of experience in journalism but who are well-rounded individuals. Natalie has begun to master some really marketable skills that will serve her well in college and beyond.
  • Attractive portfolio. Cool PBS involvement! Social media presence is strong.
  • “Clearly Natalie has had an impact not only on the journalism community at her school but on the choir community. This shows diversity of experiences. It was also great to see how she brought these two passions together into the blog and a possible future career.”

In her essay of application, Lindsey wrote:

Natalie Lindsey photographs with her camera for the Westmoreland Official Weekly newspaper

“Being a journalist throughout high school has allowed me to have a career choice set in stone, therefore allowing me to prepare myself fully for that career. Journalism has given me confidence in myself that nobody can take away. […] I am a student journalist because it is where I fit, it is where I should be. In journalism, it will always be easy for me to, in the words of the Foo Fighters, “make my way back home when I learn to fly high.”

Her adviser Jessica Augustine wrote in her letter of recommendation about Lindsay’s outstanding work ethic that allowed her to pick up multimedia and other skills quickly:

“Besides successfully completing her tasks on the journalism staff, though, Natalie has become more open to new opportunities and more involved in different causes as she has matured. […] Given her experiences, skills, and traits, I think that Natalie has exhibited, in the fours years that I have personally had her as a student, and in the many years that I have known her, that she is prepared for her next level of education and prepared for her next step in life.”

 The board and staff of KSPA congratulate Natalie Lindsey as the 2018 3A/4A Kansas Student Journalist of the Year.

Dylan Babcock: 1A/2A Student Journalist of the Year

  • School: Lincoln Jr/Sr High School, Lincoln, Kansas
  • Adviser: Jason Curtis
  • Publication: Lincoln Sentinel-Republican Newspaper
  • Student portfolio website: click here

    Dylan Babcock

Dylan’s online portfolio showcases a variety of work from design to leadership. The judges also commented on his highlighted leadership skills in recommendation letters and Babcock’s professional web portfolio.

The judges said of Babcock’s portfolio:

  • “I really value the time you took to create that website. It is very professional. And the variety of work you displayed was awesome. I’m glad to see that you’re working on getting your paper out in a variety of forms including issuu. Great use of large visuals in print edition on front page. Great to see links to FB, Twitter, Instagram on print edition.”
  • “Very clean, easy-to-follow website. Good inclusion of many types of work.”
  • “It’s clear you are a student who cares and who is developing a passion for journalism. Good to see focus on things like teamwork, time management, staff development and leadership.”

In his essay of application, Babcock wrote the following:

“Looking back through my years as a high school student journalist, I realize that I’ve come a long way since that first day I walked into my intro class. I started off at square one ‒ learning how to write a basic newspaper article and edit an image in Photoshop. Soon after, I began developing my skills as a writer and designer ‒ taking on those harder projects. Finally, I became a leader in my journalism class ‒ building a team of people that has allowed us to create great publications. […] I’ve gained a great interest in the media world and I intend to keep it a part of my life.”

His yearbook adviser Jason Curtis wrote in his recommendation letter:

Dylan Babcock reviews the Lincoln Sentinel-Republican newspaper with a peer

“Dylan has excellent communication skills. His writing abilities are above average for a senior. […] As an editor he has become a role model for all the students in the class, as well as the student body. His self-discipline and sense of responsibility is unmatched by his peers. […] As a student, Dylan demonstrates a work ethic that is beyond necessary to succeed in college and beyond.”

The board and staff of KSPA congratulate Dylan Babcock as the 2018 1A/2A Kansas Student Journalist of the Year.

Please see our list of previous Kansas Student Journalist of the Year winners. And please let us know if you can help make the listing more complete.

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Daisy Bolin receives 2018 Kansas Student Journalist of the Year