Bryant student journalists make headlines of their own

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 12, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Bryant High School junior Jessica Mann, front, works with senior Jake Knight, one of the school newspaper’s editors, on design training. BHS students received 145 awards at the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Convention in Rogers.

Whether it’s tedious late nights at school, interviews that challenge students’ intellect or snapping a variety of photos at a pep rally, students in Margaret Sorrows’ journalism classes at Bryant High School are expected to go above and beyond to excel in their work on student publications.

The students’ hard work paid off this year at the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Convention in Rogers with these Hornets taking away 145 awards for their efforts during the 2012-2013 school year.

Sorrows, journalism instructor and adviser at Bryant High School, said she hoped the judges at the convention would recognize the journalistic ability her students had this year.

“They’ve been pretty powerful this year with their coverage,” Sorrows said. “They had to cover some really mature issues and did it very responsibly.”

Sorrows said that unfortunate student deaths and national issues gave her student journalists the opportunity to show what they could really do in the journalism world.

“I hoped those kids would be rewarded [at the convention],” Sorrows said. “They have absolutely come to the forefront in the world of journalism this year.”

Senior Evan Goodrich was named Writer of the Year at the convention for work as an opinion writer for The Prospective, Bryant High School’s student newspaper.

“I’ve been on the newspaper staff for two years,” Goodrich said. “It was kind of a shock when I got [Writer of the Year] really. I was in disbelief.

“This year I got to write about the [Newtown] shooting back in December and got to cover a lot of topics and personal issues,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich found writing to be an outlet to tell others about the way he feels regarding various issues.

“It’s very therapeutic for me to write,” Goodrich said.

He said Sorrows managed to bring him out of his shell and help him “evolve as a person intellectually.”

Seniors Ashton Eley and Jake Knight were named 7A Newspaper Editors of the Year for their work on The Prospective.

Eley said her staff of fellow students and her co-editor were the reasons behind getting the award.

“Last year, I was the sports editor, and I had a lot to learn a lot as head editor,” Eley said. “Jake and I worked a week straight working on our [application for the award].”

Knight was the editor of the student paper for the 2011-2012 school year, in addition to the 2012-2013 year.

“[Knight] didn’t get Editor of the Year last year, and I was sitting there waiting for 7A editors to be called, and I just kept thinking, ‘We have to get this for Jake,’” Eley said. “As soon as we got it, I just started crying.”

Eley said she appreciates the work and time Sorrows puts into the Bryant journalism program.

“She has helped us get to where we are now,” Eley said. “I wouldn’t know anything about journalism if it wasn’t for her.”

Senior Amber Easterly was the recipient of two awards at the convention. Easterly coupled with senior Sydney Cowell

in being awarded the title 7A Yearbook Editors of the Year for their work on Bryant’s yearbook, The Hornet. Easterly also won the Designer of the Year award.

“I won Editor of the Year first,” Easterly said. “I couldn’t believe it. We worked so hard for it, and our dream came true.”

Easterly said she has learned how to be a good editor from former students who were in leadership roles before she was.

“I’ve had a lot of really great examples set before me,” Easterly said. “It’s really important to communicate with your team and make sure that everybody is understanding each other.”

After receiving the Editor of the Year award, Easterly was named Designer of the Year.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Easterly said. “It was a really nice surprise. I felt so honored to get that. It’s a really nice reward.”

Along with her awards, Easterly received a scholarship from the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association to continue her journalism career at the collegiate level.

Easterly plans to double-major in business and mass communications at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia next year.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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