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Post Script prizes

High school students win 28 awards, learn life skills

They raked them in.

The staff of the Post Script, Moffat County High School’s monthly newspaper, brought home a stack of prizes from Mesa Media Day ceremony Monday at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.

“We won a lot of awards,” junior Lindsey Stewart said. “If you spread them all out over the table, they pretty much cover the whole thing.”

Of those awards, the paper took third place for large schools on the Western Slope.

Overall, the paper took six first places — full-page design, sports photo, feature writing, sports writing, advertising and cartooning — three second places and three thirds.

The staff also earned four first places, three second places and nine third places for individual contributors’ work.

“It’s just in the last three years that we’ve done this well,” journalism teacher Katy Gray said.

Gray, who is in her 17th year of leading the newspaper, attributes the newspapers’ success, at least in part, to having experienced seniors on staff.

One of those seniors, Flint Dillon, who is in his third year on staff, said he initially signed up for the class because he enjoyed having Gray as a teacher.

Now, the journalism course has pushed him to attend either Mesa or Colorado Northwest–ern Community College for business and advertising.

He’s gained experience in the field by serving as advertising manager this year. In his position, he approaches business owners to purchase ads and then he designs them.

“You learn more than just writing skills,” Dillon said. “It’s taught me a lot about working with other people.”

Gray said part of the journalism class’ appeal is that it emulates a real newsroom — new assignments every day, searching out stories relevant to the students’ readers and writing on a deadline.

“It gets stressful sometimes, but overall we have the voice of the school, which is pretty cool,” Stewart said. “If you’re not a strong leader, in this class you learn how to be quick because you can’t depend on other people.”

Some parts of the class have remained the same throughout the years, Gray said. But the industry advances technologically, which Gray’s students help her stay current on.

Photography for the newspaper began in a darkroom, and is now digital. The same is true for page layout.

“They get a lot of experience with desktop publishing,” Gray said.

But declining class enrollment causes Gray concern. Eight years ago, 40 students took journalism. This year, she has 15 students, five of whom are graduating seniors.

She attributes that to journalism no longer counting as college writing credit.

However, the students who are enrolled said they have learned real life skills they can’t gain taking tests in other classes.

Dillon attributes that to his teacher’s teaching methods.

“Mrs. Gray … tries to help us achieve our goals,” Dillon said. “She always pushes us past our limit.”

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.