Six members of Wildkat Media earn points for All-State honors

Six+members+of+the+Wildkat+Media+have+collected+enough+points+to+be+members+of+the+All-State+Journalism+staff.+

photo or infographic by Emily Meachen

Six members of the Wildkat Media have collected enough points to be members of the All-State Journalism staff.

Students think they know what happens behind the doors of room A201. They make the yearbook in there. Stories are written for the newspaper. They take pictures at plays and football games, and sometimes they are out in the hall and at lunch asking questions for stories and surveys.

But what they can’t see are the early bus rides to UIL meets or the weekends spent at the TAJE conference competing with the best of the best. They don’t see 1000 pictures set aside for the two that were posted on wildkats.org. They can’t hear the conversations about design, layout and theme development.

But that is okay to the six members of Wildkat Media who recently learned they had accrued enough points to be members of the All-State Journalism staff. Their hard work behind the door of A201 has paid off in a major way.

Seniors Kenia Grimaldo and Demaris Pelayo, junior Sure Ibukun and sophomores Heather Jackson, Summer Rains and Katherine Lee will be honored as All-State Journalism staff members.

“Being part of all state journalism staff shows how hard we worked in order get better at writing stories, getting quotes, and knowing the ins and outs of journalism,” Grimaldo said. “It shows all the growth that we have experienced over the year.

Each year students start accumulating points based on awards for state and local contests. UIL meets, Texas Association of Journalism Educators contest and Interscholastic League Press Conference awards can all add to their totals. This year the staff posted their points on a chart in the room. The poster was a daily reminder of the goal at hand.

“At the beginning of the year, Ms. Meachen said that not a lot of people got all state journalism, so it became a goal of mine to get all the points needed to win the title,” Rains said. “That meant going to UIL events and writing good long stories that had a chance to get best of SNO.”

The points are documented by media adviser Emily Meachen and sent to UIL offices at the end of the year. This is the most students from Wildkat Media ever honored.

“I submitted the paperwork last week,” Meachen said. “The All-State list will be published later in the summer when the deadline for submission has passed. I just wanted to get the news to these students now. Everyone needs a little good news right now. Having six students on this list is a big deal. Not many schools can brag that six of their students are on the All-State Journalism list. I am proud of all their hard work.”

Being named to the elite list is not an easy task. It takes work and dedication to reach the goal.

“It took a lot of hard work for me to be on all state journalism staff because this was my first year in Wildkat Media,” Jackson said. “I had to learn so many rules and practice a lot to get better so I could be on the All-State staff. It means so much to me because I feel like my hard work has paid off. I loved every second of it – the competing, the bonding and the time crunches to get the stories written and printed.”

For the four who are returning to the newspaper, yearbook and UIL teams next year, being named a honoree is just fuel to continue the hard work.

“I feel like the work and learning it took to make the staff will help me be able to contribute more to Wildkat Media in the years to come,” Jackson said.

The students honored know they are filling the shoes of the media students who worked so hard to change the program. In the last few years, the newspaper and yearbook staffs have earned various awards on the state level. It is the hard work of the students who have made the evolution possible.

“It is truly is an honor to to be given this title because so many young, talented writers who I look up to have received it in the past,” Lee said. “Every time I get into the room to write, it is more of a race against myself to see how I have improved from the last competition. Placing is just a bonus and more motivation.”

The success of past students motivated this years staff members.

“I reflected on all the accomplishments last year’s seniors had, and that motivated me to do bigger and better things this year in order to keep our future staff motivated to keep adding to our Wildkat Media awards and success,” Pelayo said.

Members of Wildkat Media work hard to cover the school and community. Receiving an honor like All-State Journalism staff is just a small indication that the students are doing a good job.

“Being an All-State Journalism staff member is an excellent honor and evidence of my hard work,” Ibukun said. “It reflects upon Wildkat media and shows that we put out good work and are experienced in what we do – the stories we write, the captions we write, the pictures we take, the layouts we design.”