RANSOM — For the second year in a row, the Western Plains High School student newspaper — the Cat Tracks — has been named the best newspaper in the state for 1A schools.
The Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s annual All-Kansas awards were recently announced, and WPHS won the contest, which entailed sending in three issues of the newspaper to be judged.
The judge for the contest is anonymous to the participants, but he or she does provide a written critique of all facets of the newspaper, including coverage, writing, design, visuals, leadership and overall.
“Cat Tracks earned All-Kansas in every category except one,” WPHS journalism adviser Todd Vogts said. “That’s fantastic! These young journalists rock!”
Within the critique, the judge provided several ideas to help the newspaper continue to improve.
“What a great little paper! Your staff has managed to produce an incredibly professional product with strong reporting and good visuals,” the judge wrote. “Great job with lead-writing! So many staffs struggle with this, and your writers have done a nice job of varying story starts.”
Vogts said the critique suggested ways to incorporate more photography and a stronger student voice on the editorial page.
“As a staff, we are going to take all of the suggestions to heart and continue to improve,” he said. “Our goal is to always get better. It is great that we have won this twice in a row. I couldn’t be more proud. But we can’t sit back and simply bask in the light. We need to take whatever suggestions that were given and use them to our advantage.”
According to the KSPA website, 48 schools submitted news publications for critique and only 22 earned All-Kansas honors.
This win is one Vogts said he hopes is just the beginning as the WPHS journalism students will be competing in the KSPA State Contest on May 5.
“Last year we won sweeps,” Vogts said. “I hope we do well again. These students deserve the recognition. They work hard, and I want them to be able to end the year on a positive note.”