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SM East sophomore wins October story contest

Kat Buchanan, a sophomore from Shawnee Mission East High School, has won KSPA’s October Story of the Month contest with her feature “Paint the Town,” which was published in The Harbinger.

Advised by C. Dow Tate, Buchanan told the story of East junior Whitney Kerr, a graffiti artist whose work was featured at the Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 26 in Kansas City.

Judges from the University of Kansas School of Journalism chose Buchanan’s piece over 22 strong entries in the October competition.

“Great visual images and descriptions in this story,” wrote one judge.

“An excellent portrait of Kerr and his evolution as a graffiti artist,” wrote another.

Maize High School’s Mary McDermott and Ashlee Burlie collaborated for the second-place story, “Three cars. Five people. One cell phone. A dangerous distraction,” a story from Play newsmagazine about the dangers of texting and driving. Phyllis Wipf is their adviser.

“Good blend of personal story, official data, and new legislation reporting,” one judge wrote. “Good quotes, nice mix of sources.”

You can read the story online by going to the Play Web site and downloading the PDF version of the Oct. 6 magazine. The story’s on pages 8 and 9.

Third place went to Allison Kohn of Blue Valley High School’s The Tiger Print for her story “Learning in the real world,” which focuses on the Center for Advanced Professional StudiesĀ  in the Blue Valley District. Allison’s adviser is Jill Chittum.

Because of the depth of the entries this month, judges awarded four Honorable Mention certificates:

  • Nick Henriquez from Topeka High’s The World; “Send help: Homeless Teens.” Nick’s adviser is Barbara Padget.
  • Tori Freisner from Blue Valley’s The Tiger Print; “A small piece of fabric, a big statement of faith” about a Muslim student who has chosen to wear the hijab.
  • Aubrey Leiter from Shawnee Mission East’s The Harbinger; “Motherly instincts: Former East student adjusts to her new life as a teenage mom.”
  • Maria Davison and Brianna Leyden from Shawnee Mission Northwest’s The Northwest Passage; “Just for decoration.” The Passage’s adviser is Susan Massy.

October Photo of the Month contest winners will be announced next week.

November contests conclude Nov. 30 for Photo of the Month and News Story of the Month.

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