From left, Emily Miller, Kyle Boss, Ryan Neece and Mackenzi Griffin celebrate their newspaper production with a Halloween party Friday afternoon at Moffat County High School. The four were among the 12 MCHS students who went to Journalism Day on Oct. 15 at Colorado State University.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

From left, Emily Miller, Kyle Boss, Ryan Neece and Mackenzi Griffin celebrate their newspaper production with a Halloween party Friday afternoon at Moffat County High School. The four were among the 12 MCHS students who went to Journalism Day on Oct. 15 at Colorado State University.

Post Script honored at Journalism Day

MCHS students travel to Fort Collins, take home 7 awards

At a glance

2009 Colorado High School Press Association awards for Moffat County High School's Post Script newspaper:

• First place, headlines, Post Script staff

• Second place, graphic illustration, Courtney Teeter

• Second place, entertainment/lifestyle feature, Courtney Teeter

• Second place, personal opinion column, Gavin Thompson

• Second place, sports photography, Courtney Teeter

• Honorable mention, single page layout, Derrick Ferguson

• Honorable mention, sports feature, Gavin Thompson

— Katy Gray has seen almost 200 issues of Post Script roll off the presses in her 25 years as the adviser for Moffat County High School's student newspaper.

In the mid 80s, Gray said there were no computers and her small staff pasted pictures onto sheets of paper and photocopied the final product.

These days, a staff of more than 20 students produces a 16-page award-winning newspaper, which recently received statewide recognition from the Colorado High School Press Association at Journalism Day 2009.

Post Script took home seven awards from the Press Association's 2009 Newspaper Sweepstakes, a contest that recognizes excellence in student-run media.

Gray took 12 high school journalism students to Journalism Day at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on Oct. 15 to accept the awards and take classes taught by media professionals from across the state.

"We learned a lot of stuff," said Kathrine Cork, Post Script photo editor. "We learned a lot of leadership that I think our staff really needed."

She said the awards ceremony was a highlight for her because she and her staff were exposed to new ideas and layouts from some of the best high school newspapers around the state.

"You saw some of these cool newspapers and you'd say, 'That's something cool that I want to do someday,'" she said. "It gives us a goal."

Gavin Thompson, Derrick Ferguson and Courtney Teeter, all of whom graduated in May, won awards for excellence in sports photography, opinion columns and page layout for their work during the 2008-09 school year.

April Rogers, copy editor, said the newspaper staff also took a lot of pride in their second place award for headline writing.

"It was really great because it's not like one person won that award," she said. "We succeeded as a group. I think we work really well together."

While the awards praised the success of last year's staff, seven returning students and a wealth of new ideas gave Rogers and Cork confidence that this year will be better than ever.

"I think our editorial staff has a lot of potential," Cork said.

For Rogers, the highlight was meeting journalism professionals and listening to their tales of the trade.

"It was awesome," Rogers said. "There were amazing teachers and mentors."

Cork said she was surprised about the way the professionals reached out to the students.

"They would all hand me a card and tell me to send them my stories," she said. "It was really nice."

Rogers said they went to classes taught by famous journalists who have been published in national media outlets such as Time magazine and appeared on shows such as "Oprah."

"We really learned how to find the stories," she said. "This woman told us that in any given event you can find at least 15 different stories. And we learned how one story can change everything and actually have an effect."

She said after the conference, she is more confident than ever that she'll someday be the editor of a major newspaper.

"Oh, absolutely," she said. "It's a definite possibility now that I've heard their success stories."

Armed with ideas of simple, aesthetic layouts, the students returned to the high school to put out the second issue of Post Script, which ran as an insert in Thursday's Craig Daily Press.

Gray said judging by the first two issues, this year's staff has turned in the best first round of stories she has seen in her 25 years.

"Most of the individuals that won awards were seniors last year because it really just takes years to get that good," she said. "But this batch has as much potential as any group I've ever had."

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