2019 Sunflower and Friend of KSPA Award Winners

Jeni Daley of Shawnee Heights earned the Sunflower Award while Peter Bobkowski of the University of Kansas earned the Friend of KSPA Award.

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2019 Sunflower and Friend of KSPA Award Winners

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KSPA proudly recognizes educators and professionals each year who promote excellence in scholastic journalism. We thank you for your continued support. Congratulations to our award winners!

SUNFLOWER AWARD 2019

The Sunflower Award recognizes a new adviser who shows enthusiasm and dedication to building a strong journalism program and aims to encourage him/her to remain in the profession. The recipient of the award will receive a student scholarship to a Kansas summer media workshop, a plaque and a complimentary one-year membership to KSPA.  

The nominee will be judged on the following four criteria: 1) Has five or fewer years advising experience: 2) Demonstrates commitment to journalism education; 3) Supports first amendment rights through teaching of the law and allowing student leadership and free expression; 4) Shows improvement in journalism program during advising period.

Jeni Daley

Journalism adviser at Shawnee Heights High School

Words of nomination from Whitney Baker, Balfour Yearbooks Representative:

Mrs. Daley, from the day that I met her, has always displayed a high degree of ambition and drive for student success. When most first-year teachers would be stressed and worried, Mrs. Daley had developed a plan to not only master a grueling schedule with multiple preps, but also to improve on the teaching techniques that had previously been used in the classroom, and, in turn, improve the overall learning experience and all student publications. This is not a small feat. 

She was able to revamp the way the Shawnee Heights High School yearbook was created, planned and developed so that the students could get their 400-page yearbooks before school was out. She did all of this with skepticism from the community and she did it without failure or fault. The books were distributed in the spring before graduation and the students loved the new tradition. This decision was one that will boost her sales and her program revenue and was an ingenious way to build her program, gain trust from the student body, and to ensure that the journalism program is healthy and wonderful to be a part of. 

Words of nomination from Brooklyn Armbruster, former Shawnee Heights High School newspaper editor-in-chief (2017-18)

The Shawnee Heights journalism program did a 180-degree turn after Mrs. Daley arrived. I have never been in a class where a teacher is as passionate, involved and excited about their work. Mrs. Daley was constantly looking for new ways to make our school publications better. She showed me a creative side of myself I didn’t know existed. She taught me how to work on a project until I was completely satisfied. She pushed us to stray away from ‘basic trends’ and create something original.

Mrs. Daley puts in the time to form friendships with her students and get to know them as people. There was never any doubt that she would go above and beyond to answer my questions and help me succeed. Mrs. Daley may have started out as my adviser, but I left high school with a lifelong friend. 

She has inspired so many people. I’ve seen several of my classmates change and choose their major based on the effect Mrs. Daley had. So many students enjoy getting to know her, work with her and learn with her. 

Words from the selection committee:

Mrs. Daley evaluated the courses and publications and formed an action plan to develop and enhance the program. Under her leadership, yearbook sales increased to the point of selling out, all the while changing from a fall delivery book to spring delivery. Enrollment in the journalism program grew from seven to 120. Mrs. Daley resurrected the broadcast program at Shawnee Heights which called for her to expand her own knowledge of broadcast production. Giving of her own time, Mrs. Daley attended numerous camps and national conventions and organized opportunities for students to attend those camps and conventions.

KSPA congratulates Jeni Daley for her continued efforts to better herself and the publications she leads at Shawnee Heights High School.

Shawnee Heights publication adviser Jeni Daley earned the Sunflower Award during a presentation at her school April 17, 2019 with executive director Eric Thomas.


FRIEND OF KSPA AWARD 2019

The Sunflower Award recognizes a new adviser who shows enthusiasm and dedication to building a strong journalism program and aims to encourage him/her to remain in the profession. The recipient of the award will receive a student scholarship to a Kansas summer media workshop, a plaque and a complimentary one-year membership to KSPA.  

The nominee will be judged on the following four criteria: 1) Has five or fewer years advising experience: 2) Demonstrates commitment to journalism education; 3) Supports first amendment rights through teaching of the law and allowing student leadership and free expression; 4) Shows improvement in journalism program during advising period.

Peter Bobkowski

Associate Professor at the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Words of nomination from Jim McCrossen, Blue Valley Northwest High School journalism adviser

There are extremely intelligent people in this world. There are people who can convert that knowledge to others. There are also really nice people with whom you want to hang out and talk. Rarely do you find all three traits in one person unless you know Peter Bobkowski. Peter has given so much of his time, energy and expertise to the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and its members that he can truly be called a friend to the organization.

It was when KSPA was without an executive director for a year that Peter really stepped in to help. He was willing to help with anything we needed help with from the university standpoint. He volunteered to judge and help find judges. He volunteered to be a keynote speaker or to help us find a keynote speaker for the Kansas Journalism Institute when there was no full-time director for the workshop. He even hosted a dinner at his home for the faculty the night before the workshop kicked off. Whatever he could do, he was willing to do to help KSPA and scholastic journalism in Kansas. 

Words of nomination from Sharon Martin, former KSPA president and board member 

Dr. Bobkowski has bridged the gap between the collegiate and scholastic level. He is warm and welcoming, and he gets to know instructors and their teaching situations. I have watched him interact with high school students and he communicates effectively and genuinely.

A former yearbook editor of mine, Grant Heiman, is now a teaching and research assistant to Dr. Bobkowski. Grant refers to Dr. Bobkowski as an outstanding instructor and said, “In the classroom, Dr. Bobkowski used real world applications to connect young journalists with the expansive network of research they will use in their everyday careers. Beyond the classroom, he maintains contact with past students to mentor, encourage and help them navigate the world of professional journalism wherever they may need it.”

Bobkowski dedicates his personal time to a number of KSPA activities including judging for regional and state contests and speaking at state conventions. Our organization couldn’t survive without the service that professors and professionals contribute. 

Words from the selection committee:

Our judging committee chose Bobkowski’s application because of the depth of his service to KSPA. Not only has he taught at conferences, but he has judged, served on CTE committees, advised on First Amendment rights, and worked individually with many journalism programs. He helped KSPA tremendously during the transition year between directors. The letters of recommendation gave specific examples of Dr. Bobkowski’s service which truly influenced our choice.

KSPA congratulates Peter Bobkowski and thanks him for his contributions to our organization!


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