BJHS Brings Home 48 ASPA Awards

Bryant Junior High Journalism left Arkansas Scholastic Press Association’s convention with 48 awards, including a superior in Film and Video General Excellence and All-Arkansas for Swarm Productions, the broadcast and film staff.  

All-Arkansas is the top award in the state for a media program or publication.

This is the first year that Swarm Productions has had a staff separate from other publications with producer Emory Givens, David Meadows, Amber Vasquez, Katherine Whiteaker, freshmen, Cassidy Blakely, Aubrey Ellis, 8th graders.  None of the members had experience before joining.

“I’m shocked.  This is completely out of my comfort zone and I’ve never done anything like this.  It’s genuinely surreal,” Givens said.  

Over 40 schools and 500 students, middle school through high school, participated in ASPA this year.  

Other top awards include of-the-year awards; one is awarded per category per classification and up to two runner-ups are selected.  Among of-the-year winners include freshmen Madden Holloway, Designer of the Year, Molly Kitchens, Newspaper Writer of the Year, Erin Taylor, first runner-up for Newspaper Writer of the Year, Rylee Rutledge, Newspaper Editor of the Year.  

Taylor described it as an incredible experience.  

“I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I am really grateful.  I am really grateful and it was an amazing experience for me.  I’m excited for other ASPAs to come,” Taylor said.  

The Blue and White was given an excellent rating in Yearbook General Excellence.  The staff also placed superior in Cover Design and an excellent in Theme Development.   

Individuals also won multiple awards for mail-in and on-site categories.  

Givens won a superior in experimental film, and Blakley and Whiteaker won a superior in Animation/Stop Motion. Together, Givens, Blakely, Whiteaker and Ellis won third place in Short Film.  

Holloway, coeditor-in-chief of the yearbook, won an excellent in Student Life Layout, first place in Literary Magazine Layout Design on-site.  Together, Madden and her coeditor, Lily Presley won an excellent in Sports Layout and a superior in Academic Layout. Holloway also worked with Khloe King and Karrington Samuel, 8th graders, to win an excellent in special coverage.  

Rutledge, coeditor-in-chief of The Occurrence, won superior in Feature Story.  Her winning entry was then selected as the Best of Aspa.  

Katie Wright and Annabell Odom, 8th graders, won a superior in Service to School & Community. 

Nytriuna Smith, freshman, won a superior in Student Life Photograph and was also selected as the Best of ASPA.  

Kelsey Long, freshman, won an honorable mention in Sports Photograph, an excellent in Theme Photograph and honorable mention in Club Photograph.  

Carsyn Brown, freshman, won an excellent in Sports Copy and an honorable mention in Groups/Clubs Copy. Together with freshman Kamaya Sampson, Brown won an excellent in Academic Copy.  

Adriana Salazar, freshman, won first place in Yearbook Layout (Media-Based).  

Aniya Fayne, freshman, and Evelyn Bennett, 8th grader, won an excellent for Groups/Clubs Layout. 

Together, King and Sameul won a superior in advertising layout. 

Siya Rohant, freshman, won 3rd place in Yearbook Layout: Theme Development (Media-Based).  

Maggie Cole, freshman and design editor for The Blue and White, won first place in Yearbook Layout - Showstopper. Kaylee Anderson, 8th grader, won first place in editorial cartooning.  Jocelyn Kirby, freshman, won second place in Enterprise Shooting.   

“To date, this is the most awards my students have taken home from ASPA,” Meag Abo, adviser said, “They’ve worked incredibly hard, building new programs, revamping old ones.  I am so proud of everything they’ve accomplished and learned.”