Author Archives: studentpress


MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota High School Press Association was honored to present its 2016 Journalism Educator of the Year to Anna Reid of The Blake School and adviser to The Spectrum newspaper. Reid was recognized earlier this week on Sept. 6 at the school in Minneapolis. Laura Widmer, the executive director, and Mariah Keith, the contest and critique coordinator of Minnesota High School Press Association, presented the award to Reid on stage during the school’s morning assembly.

Anna Reid and the staff of The Spectrum celebrate Reid's Minnesota Journalism Educator of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of Anna Reid. Anna Reid and the staff of The Spectrum celebrate her Minnesota Journalism Educator of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of Anna Reid. 

The selection qualifications for the award consist of teaching/advising preparation, experience and ability; relationships with students and others; other contributions to the profession; and promoting appreciation for journalism as a career.

Reid has taught English and advised The Spectrum newspaper at The Blake School. for the past six years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1998 and a master of arts degree from University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2002.

The Spectrum newspaper, which under the supervision and guidance of Reid succeeded in placing multiple times in MHSPA’s Gold Medallion and Best of Show contests the past few years.

Former editor of The Spectrum, Maxine Whitely, spoke highly of Reid’s commitment to her publication’s staff and the journalism field. “Ms. Reid does it all and makes it look effortless,” she said. “Her passion and work ethic never seem to wane, even on the most arduous, frustrating days. Her presence continuously uplifts everyone around her.”

Fellow Minnesota High School Press Association adviser Lori Keekley notes “Reid’s passion also shows through her work and relationships with students.” “Anna’s dedication to her students and the state journalism organization is commendable,” Keekley said. “She’s a dedicated worker who doesn’t seek the spotlight. She’s just happy to do the work if it helps someone.”

Reid will also be recognized at the MHSPA State Convention on Oct. 4, 2016.

Anna Morris, co-editor-in-chief of The Pony Express at Stillwater High School in Stillwater, Minnesota, has been named the 2012 Minnesota Journalist of the Year by The Journalism Education Association of Minnesota.

As a junior, Morris was just looking for a way to meet new people. Morris said, “I was drawn to the idea of what I thought journalism was: people with pencils behind their ears, reporter’s notebooks in hand, briefcases in tow and an affinity for red pen. What I found when I joined my school paper was a group of students who cared about the world around them and what was going on in it.” Morris immediately thrived under the pressure of deadlines and knew she had discovered a passion.

As editor-in-chief of a staff of more than fifty students, Morris encountered several tough situations; from staff not fulfilling their duties to former staff defaming the publication. With the support of her adviser and the editorial board, Morris worked through each challenging situation.

Adviser Rachel Steil said, “Anna’s work stands out for her highly articulate approaches towards complex issues. Not only can she write with confidence and maturity, she can discuss and dissect complex issues.”

Morris’ skills extend beyond good writing; her photography, editing, and design abilities are assets to all sections of the newspaper and make her an outstanding journalist. Morris said, “Journalism has helped shape who I am as a person and has taught me about the importance of teamwork, responsibility, dedication, perseverance, focus and leadership.” Morris will continue taking journalism classes at Wheaton College in Chicago this fall. Morris hopes to ultimately use her journalism skills in an International Relations career.

Arts journalism contest at Guthrie Theater Feb. 1 — APPLY IMMEDIATELY!
MHSPA and the Journalism Educators of Minnesota will offer the Arts Journalism/Review Writing contest in conjunction with the Guthrie Theater on Feb. 1, 2012, in Minneapolis. The play that students will watch and review is “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and the $10 fee includes ticket and lunch. Ticket admission has generously been covered by a grant to the Guthrie. This year, it will not be necessary to submit samples of student work in advance — just sign up the students who want to attend. Download the flyer for more information.

Guthrie 2012 flyer

Sports journalism contest with Minnesota Wild in 2012 — APPLY BY JAN. 18!
MHSPA and the Minnesota Wild will again offer the Sports Journalism contest at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Feb. 15. Writers, photographers and broadcast teams will get a tour, watch a practice and interview people associated with the Wild, including a player. See the attached flyer for more information.

Wild 2012 flyer

The Minnesota High School Press Association has presented its 2011 Journalism Educator of the Year honor to Ryan McCallum of Buffalo High School and adviser to the Tatanka yearbook, Hoofprint newspaper and website. McCallum was recognized during a newspaper staff meeting at the school on May 11, 2011. McCallum teaches English language arts and is the technology integration specialist at the school.

Selection criteria for the award include teaching/advising preparation, experience and ability; relationships with students and others; contributions to the profession; promoting appreciation for journalism and as a career; and support for the First Amendment.

McCallum’s experience in scholastic journalism began in 1994 as a student journalist at Buffalo High School, and continued at Concordia College in Moorhead, where he graduated in 2001. He has been teaching at Buffalo High School since 2001 and began advising the yearbook in 2002, the newspaper in 2003 and the website in 2004.

McCallum’s accomplishments at Buffalo High School include restarting the Hoofprint newspaper, which had been dormant for three years. In 2003, just 24 students were enrolled in journalism classes. In 2010, 270 students took journalism. The student publications have earned top state honors, and the website was named a national Pacemaker Award winner this spring, one of 18 websites to receive the honor.

McCallum’s students nominated him for the award. In their letters of support, they praised his teaching skills as well as his ability to relate to students and help them grow as young adults. Michael LaCroix, yearbook editor in chief, wrote that McCallum creates a classroom environment that feeds on curiosity, ingenuity and creative risk-taking. “He places more weight on creating something new than doing something old perfectly.”

Valerie Ostvig, the newspaper’s co-editor in chief, wrote, “He has achieved [success] by challenging us to be original and inform the student body with the most prudent of topics. He advises us in a way that encourages creativity, responsibility and has produced results.”

Elena Potek, news editor of The Echo at St. Louis Park High School in St. Louis Park, has been named the 2011 Minnesota Journalist of the Year. Potek and other State Journalists of the Year were recognized at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim in April. All state winners competed for the National Journalist of the Year award. A listing of all state award recipients can be found here.

Potek has been involved with student journalism since her sophomore year and said that journalism granted her some of the most challenging and rewarding intellectual experiences of her high school career. Potek said, “Journalism taught me how to be responsible in meeting deadlines and working with others to create a publication that gave the high school student body a strong voice.”

During her junior year, Poetek covered the reconfiguration of the St. Louis Park School District. Potek didn’t just cover the issue in one story, she covered it extensively, using five stories to present the process and follow-up information. She attended community and school board meetings to learn all she could in order to complete fair and balanced coverage.

Potek’s big story during her senior year was equally challenging and controversial. In November, a student allegedly stole his mother’s car, held up two separate convenience stores in Iowa and fatally shot two clerks. Potek obtained police reports from both jurisdictions, and interviewed people from the communities impacted by the shootings. Adviser Lori Keekley said, “While doing her work on the story, she was called to the office and questioned as to what she knew. Although she felt bullied by this incident, she held her ground and published only the facts she knew to be correct.”

With administration withholding comments, and staff disallowed to comment, Potek still persevered. By working quickly, Potek gathered information about teachers who formerly worked with the student. However, she was told by administration that she would not be allowed to interview them. Potek said, “I was called to the office of the vice-principal and was asked to divulge my sources and information I had gained. Using my rights as a student writer who was not under the legal jurisdiction of the school district, I chose not to reveal this information.”

Potek worked with the offices of two county attorneys where the murders occurred and obtained court documents and affidavits. She also spoke to community members in Iowa and called the student’s parents asking for comment. Potek said, “Never before had I written a piece that was so high profile and controversial. This story gave me a greater sensitivity in working with others and in understanding my rights as a journalist.”

Potek is considering the study of clinical psychology in college. She plans to take the skills she has learned through her high school journalism experiences and apply them to whatever field she chooses. Keekley said, “The students who write for the news page often comment on how easy it was to work with Elena. She is an excellent role model for the staff.”

Second Place winner was Jakki Thompson, editor of the St. Francis High School Crier newspaper.


MHSPA Guthrie Event Winners

The winners of the 2011 MHSPA Guthrie event are as follows:

Nadja Leonard-Hooper–St. Paul Academy

Olivia Delviscio–Eden Prairie High School

Kia Farhang–Mounds View High School

Crystal McClean–Champlin Park High School


MHSPA/MN Wild Event Winners

The 2011 MN Wild event winners are as follows:

Photo winner: Cristina Anfang, Minnehaha Academy








Broadcast winners: Jordan Wipf and Eric Sipe, Eastview

View the winning broadcast production here.

Story winner: Gary Nielsen, Robbinsdale Cooper

A Life of Hockey

By Gary Nielsen, Robbinsdale Cooper

The Xcel Energy Center has been home to the Minnesota Wild since 2000. Now it is also home to first year assistant coach Darby Hendrickson.

Hendrickson was one of the original Wild players and became a fan favorite in his playing days. In fact, he was the first player to score a goal in Wild history.

“It’s fun to be back and part of the Wild,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson was born in Richfield. When he was a child, Hendrickson suffered what he called “the worst” injury he ever has had. It was an eye injury and according to Hendrickson, the doctors gave him a 50-50 chance to see again. It was his ability to overcome adversity that would later help him persevere in hockey.

“What separates the top level is the mental part to deal with adversity,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson later enjoyed a successful high school career. In his senior season, Hendrickson was named Minnesota Mr. Hockey for 1991.

“High school hockey was really unique. Being able to play in the state tournament…it was like a dream come true,” Hendrickson said.

After high school, Hendrickson played hockey for the University of Minnesota. In his two seasons at Minnesota, Hendrickson collected 82 points (37-45).

When his time with the Gophers was over, Hendrickson went on to play for Toronto Maple Leafs American Hockey League affiliate. Hendrickson had earlier been drafted by Toronto in the 1990 NHL entry draft.

1994 was a particularly eventful year for Hendrickson. He played for the United States in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Later in the year, Hendrickson made his NHL debut for Toronto, playing two games in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“Playing in the Olympics was an unbelievable experience for me,” Hendrickson said.

After playing seven seasons in the NHL, Hendrickson finally came back home to play for the expansion Wild squad in 2000. Hendrickson scored 60 points while playing just over three seasons for the Wild. He was traded to the Avalanche during the 2003-2004 season. Hendrickson eventually retired from hockey after the 2006-2007 season.

“There’s still part of you that would love to play,” Hendrickson said.

At the start of the 2010 season, Hendrickson was hired to the Wild coaching staff as an assistant coach, after working for FSN North as a broadcaster.

“I hadn’t really thought about [coaching] when I was a player. My father was a coach for a few years. I was open to it when I was a player. You just never know if you’re going to get that opportunity,” Hendrickson said.

As a coach, Hendrickson has a good connection with the players on the Wild. He even played with several of them during his career.

During game days, Hendrickson is located above the ice watching the video of the game.

“I think what impresses me the most is the time and preparation that goes into coaching,” Hendrickson said.

This year, the Wild have had a lot of turnover on the roster compared to last year. Hendrickson pointed that out as a reason for some of the good things that the team has been able to accomplish this year.

“I think we’ve had some positives,” Hendrickson said. “It’s added some personality to the team.”

Hendrickson also said that a lot of NHL players have small “superstitions.” In reality, though, these superstitions are just part of their routine according to Hendrickson.

“A lot of superstitions are just routine. Some guys want to be the first guy on the ice, some like to be the last one off,” Hendrickson said.


2011 Minnesota Journalism Educator of the Year nominations now being accepted

Any student, parent, colleague or community member can nominate a Minnesota journalism educator for the award. The deadline for nominations is April 20, 2011. The entry form can be downloaded here.

2011 MHSPA Gold Medallion contest entry now open

All Minnesota high school and junior high student journalists are eligible to apply for these awards, due Sept. 16, 2011. Online entries are due June 17, 2011. Winners will be recognized at a special ceremony at the Fall NSPA/JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Minneapolis. Download the entry form here.

2011 MHSPA North Star awards now open

The MHSPA North Star awards recognize individual students in Minnesota who have excelled as journalists, leaders and scholars. Entries are due by May 13, 2011, and the entry form may be downloaded here.

2011 All-State Publications contest entry open

All publications staffs in Minnesota are encouraged to enter this general excellence contest. Winners will be recognized at a special ceremony at the Fall NSPA/JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Minneapolis. Print entries are due Sept. 16, 2011, and online entries are due June 17, 2011. Download the entry form here.

Please call MHSPA at 612-625-8335 or e-mail to with any questions. We look forward to your participation in our contest opportunities.


MHSPA and the Minnesota Wild will offer the Sports Journalism contest at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Feb. 8, 2011. Writers, photographers and broadcast teams will get a tour, watch a practice and interview people associated with the Wild, including a player. Download this form for more information: Wild 2011

MHSPA and the Journalism Educators of Minnesota will offer the Arts Journalism/Review Writing contest in conjunction with the Guthrie Theater on Feb. 16, 2011, in Minneapolis. The play that students will watch and review is “The Winter’s Tale,” and the $10 fee includes ticket and lunch. Ticket admission has generously been covered by a grant to the Guthrie. Download the form here for more information: Guthrie 2011

2011 JEA/NSPA National Convention in Minneapolis update
Members of the planning meeting met during the 2010 fall convention in Kansas City. The committee members attending also wore promotional T-shirts and distributed stickers to promote the 2011 convention. The next committee meeting will be in the first two weeks of January. Contact co-chairs Laurie Hansen ( or Lori Keekley ( to get involved or be added to the update list.

Congratulations to Minnesota winners of NSPA Best of Show in Kansas City!
+ Newspaper 9-12 Pages: First Place, Echo, St. Louis Park HS; 10th Place, Ahlahasa, Albert Lea HS
+ Newspaper Special Edition: 7th Place, Ahlahasa, Albert Lea HS
+ Literary Magazine: 4th Place, i-Mag, Ahlahasa, Albert Lea HS
+ Publication Website (Small School): 6th Place, Knight Errant, Benilde St. Margaret’s School; 7th Place, Echo, St. Louis Park HS

Congratulations to Minnesota winners of JEA Write-off Contests in Kansas City!

Newswriting, honorable mention: Kelsey Reid, St. Louis Park HS; Amber Bergland, Albert Lea HS; Bennett Winton, Blake School; Emma Eldred, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School
Editorial Writing, excellent: Alex Kersten, St. Louis Park HS
Sports Writing, honorable mention: Giula Imholte, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School
Editorial Cartooning, excellent: Anissa Nelson, Albert Lea HS
Yearbook Cover/Endsheets, honorable mention: Kaci Mobley, Champlin Park HS

NSPA Members: Contest deadlines approaching
If you are also a member of the National Scholastic Press Association, please note these upcoming deadlines. Forms are available at NSPA’s website:
+ Dec. 3: 2009-10 critiques due
+ Jan. 18: Yearbook, Magazine and Online Pacemaker entries due
+ Feb. 15: NSPA Journalism Honor Roll, Honor Roll Scholarships and Wikoff Scholarships due

Got a suggestion or comment?
As always, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to let us know. Send an e-mail to

Two years ago two charter buses full of Minnesota high school journalists and advisers traveled to the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention. A similar experience is being planned for this year’s fall convention in Kansas City for KC Converge, Nov. 11-14 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown and Convention Center.

Riley Worth, adviser in Albert Lea, Minn., is putting together a bus trip, scheduled to leave Thursday morning, Nov. 11, returning Sunday evening, Nov. 14. Tentatively, the bus would do one or two pick ups in the Twin Cities area between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., then travel south on I-35, stopping again in Albert Lea for a final pick up around 10 a.m.

The bus would arrive in Kansas City around 4 p.m. and would leave Sunday after the awards ceremony (around noon).

If you are interested, here are some important dates/deadlines:

1) Oct. 1 — An approximate number of riders (students + chaperones) from your group. This will help get an estimation of the per-rider cost (advisers/chaperones ride free).

2) Oct. 22 — An exact number of riders, so that school districts can be billed.

Obviously, the more riders, the cheaper the cost. The cost per bus is approximately $3,500 ($3,000, plus driver’s hotel room per night). I think the maximum riders per bus is around 50 (so about 40 students).

It’d be great to have two busses near maximum capacity.

If you have any questions, please contact Riley Worth at or 507-271-2783 (cell) or 507-379-5807 (school extension).

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