Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

House students win journalism awards


January 30, 2019

Three students from House Municipal Schools won awards Saturday at the New Mexico Student Press Association/New Mexico Activities Association state journalism competition in Las Cruces.

Senior Ellie Aikman took first place for newspaper photojournalism; freshman Matthew Sperry took first place for yearbook photojournalism; and freshman Aiden Aikman took third place for newspaper sportswriting.

The competition was not divided by class, meaning House students were pitted against writers and photographers from much larger schools in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, among others.

“House High School is tiny, but don’t tell our students or teachers that,” Superintendent Bonnie Lightfoot said.

Student photojournalists were required to bring flash drives containing images that had run or were scheduled to run in the yearbook or school newspaper. They presented their work to a panel of judges, who asked how they produced the photos.

“Seeing all of the other competitors’ photos in my contest made me feel as if I wasn’t going to win, but when I heard my name called, I was absolutely stoked,” Ellie Aikman said.

Sperry said he was delighted by the win.

“When they called my name for first place, I was very excited,” he said. “When I knew that I won, I was immediately overwhelmed with joy.”

Among the students’ contest submissions were two photos that appeared in the Quay County Sun.

For the sportswriting competition, Aiden Aikman had to view a clip of a basketball game, take notes and write an article about the game.

“I felt really good because it was my first-ever story, and I plan on doing even better next year,” he said.

The freshman, who joined the journalism class in early January, prepared for the competition by reading back issues of the Quay County Sun to learn how to write an article in Associated Press style, journalism teacher Emily Priddy said.

In addition to participating in on-site competitions, Sperry, the Aikmans and House sophomore Evelyn Garrett had their work critiqued by professional journalists and attended a panel discussion featuring news broadcasters from the El Paso area.

Lightfoot praised the students’ work.

“I am immensely proud of the yearbook and journalism students at House High School. They are a dedicated and creative bunch of students who are learning real-world skills in a classroom that is teaching them about real-world issues, careers and ethics,” she said.


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