FHS journalism students participate in annual PSPA competition


Jessica Majors/FHS Press

Speaking on stage, freshman Christopher Denkovich talks to the crowd about New Voices legislation.

The Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) holds competitions for student journalism and media pieces each year. Students competing in newspaper and yearbook writing have to write a story in under an hour using a prompt and must submit their work to be judged. Those who submit other forms of media can use past pieces of work to be judged. The two general categories are for journalism and media. The competition is held at the Penn State Main campus. The students in the competition make the trip out to the campus during the end of the school day a day before the competition. They spent the night at the Graduate State College hotel and were ready to compete the next day for the awards. 

Each year, students from FHS that are in Print Media Workshop and Broadcast Media Workshop participate in the competition. 10 students representing the FHS Press, Shawnee Yearbook and The Bulldog Beat made it to the regional level. In this year’s state competition, three student representatives from Freedom won state awards. Junior Megan Evans won a state award for drawing the best editorial cartoons, junior Kaylee Ostrowski won a state award for best yearbook spread design and senior Carter Huggins won a state award for best broadcast writing. 

“I was super surprised when I won first place for the yearbook spread design. The award gave me more confidence in what I do,” Ostrowski said. 

“It felt really weird to win in my category because I did not feel that confident in my cartoon. I guess winning this kind of thing means that I should be a little more confident in what I do because maybe it’s not that bad,” Evans said. 

Every fall, regionals take place before state finals and take place on Nov. 2 through 4. The winners of the regional competitions then move on to the state competitions. The finals competition was held on March 30, where the state winners were declared. Regionals were virtual this year, for the reason that many individuals were unable to make it to the competition in-person. 

This state competition meeting was significant this year because it was the first in-person meeting for a competition since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the travel to the competition, as well as the rest of the world, and the competitions had to be held virtually. One competition took place in the winter of 2020, which was held virtually. From Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, 2021, students had two weeks to gather their materials. 

At the end of the day, students from the print and broadcast programs learned a lot of new information and gained experience in journalism while attending the PSPA state competition.