By J1 reporter Lauren Elliot
At the beginning of the school year Mrs. Marsha Kalkowski asked her junior and senior journalism classes if they would like go to Dallas, Texas in November for a journalism convention. Mrs. Kalkowski had been planning the trip for months. She and Ms. Megan Piernicky, English teachers at Marian had four juniors and twelve seniors that signed up, filled out the forms, and turned in their $365 checks. At 4 a.m. on Nov. 16 these Marian students left for the big trip.
This convention was sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas. The convention included a wide variety of sessions that students and advisers could choose to attend, write-off contests, and a neon country-themed dance party. Lizzie Byrne, a junior that went on the trip, said, “The best part was seeing all the different schools, and seeing the different topics they covered in their publications.” For the contest, some students submitted photos that they took prior to the trip, and some wrote pieces at the convention. More than half of the Marian students who competed won some sort of award. Winners include: Allison Ostapowicz, Honorable Mention in Literary Magazine Poetry; Kathryn Morey, Honorable Mention in Yearbook Copy/Caption Clubs; Courtney Kilroy, Honorable Mention in Yearbook Copy/Caption Academics; Julia Veik, Excellent in Literary Magazine Photography; Sofia Herrera, Excellent in First Year Photography; Audrey Hertel, Excellent in Themed Photography; Ellie Farner, Excellent in Yearbook Copy/Caption Sports; Evelyn Paul, Superior in Graphic Design Logo; and Shannon McSweeney, Superior in Feature Writing. Schools’ publications also received awards. Marian’s own Burn Magazine received an Honorable Mention in the Best Design of the Year Contest.
Almost 5,000 high school journalists from across the United States, and even other countries, attended the convention. Award-winning journalists and nationally acclaimed media professionals led the sessions to inspire and help all of the attendees to learn more about journalism. Byrne said her favorite session that she attended was called Activating Girls’ Voices. “It was very inspiring.” she said.
All of the Marian girls loved the opportunity to travel to another state, bond with each other, learn about journalism, and miss a couple days of school. Byrne said the worst part was the 11 hour bus ride home. “I still have a bruise on my tailbone from the way I was sitting,” she said a week later. Nonetheless, she and the other Marian girls are glad they went. “I have a better appreciation for publications now…I feel like in the future I will put more effort into finding a story that matters.”