April is one of the most hectic months of the year for CCHS students. Among all of the field trips and out-of-school events that occurred, one specific trip stood out to the publications of CCHS– the Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) State Convention.
From April 11-13, CCHS’s print publications The Round Up and The Lariat attended the 2019 FSPA State Convention, held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. For the three days that CCHS students were at the convention, they competed in a variety of contests, attended workshops and received awards for their work throughout the year and at the convention.
The first day of the convention was competition day. These competitions, or On-the-Spot contests, are a chance for student journalists to demonstrate their talents under a strict deadline. With competitions ranging from press conference to poetry, everyone in attendance found a contest they could participate in. Since the time is very constrained and deadlines are strict, it has a reputation for being very chaotic.
“The FSPA experience was crazy and I didn’t expect it to be as hectic as it was,” The Round Up yearbook adviser Hailee Yaeger said. “As a new adviser I’m very eager to help [my kids] and it was very difficult for me when they were competing because I couldn’t help.”
“The sessions that we went to and doing the On-the-Spot competitions really did put it in perspective how time management is a huge part of being in a journalism class.”
After the chaos of competition day and a good night’s sleep, students were able to attend five different sessions and workshops throughout the entire day. For The Round Up staffer Anna Asburry, going to these sessions didn’t just prepare her for next year’s yearbook, but prepared her for the editor position she aspires to receive.
“The sessions that we went to and doing the On-the-Spot competitions really did put it in perspective how time management is a huge part of being in a journalism class,” Asburry said. “By going to these sessions and learning these techniques and tips and tricks, I feel that it has better prepared me for the editor position.”
While most attendees found these sessions helpful and plan to use their advice for next year, some students didn’t go to some of the sessions — because they were speaking at one.
“The other editors-in-chief and I held a session at FSPA which was really, really cool,” The Lariat Managing Editor Alexandra Sansone said. “We [had] something that we wanted to share with everyone so we worked really hard on our presentation and being able to share that in a session was just kind of this surreal moment.”
“I think that being together, working together [and] talking together helped us realize that we really are in this together, for the better of journalism.”
In the final moments of FSPA, the awards were announced. On Friday night, the Best-of-Best and scholarship winners were announced at the awards banquet and the On-the-Spot awards were announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday morning.
This year, The Lariat took home a total of 65 awards and The Round Up earned an All-Florida for last year’s book and an Honorable Mention for the Yearbook Spread Design competition. For the two publications, winning these awards is a hopeful sign for their performance next year.
“Being able to put our work together and making this page and having it win honorable mention, really is a [window] into the future,” Asburry said. “I feel that for next year’s book we are starting off with a good adviser and we have really good returning team members and it’s just going to be an all-around better book.”
Arielle Kraus, a general editor for The Lariat, did not attend FSPA this year, but she did win the Emerging Young Journalist award. This award is given to freshmen and sophomores who show promise in journalism.
“I’m definitely going back next year and we are kicking butt.”
“I am so proud of Arielle for winning the Emerging Young Journalist award,” Sansone said. “I knew she was going to get it and I knew she was the best person for it this year.”
Those who went on the field trip found that winning many awards at the convention was a great achievement, but in the end, say that they’ve found something greater than awards — friendship.
“It’s something that I’ll never forget. I made a lot of new friends and I’m friends with The Lariat people [now],” Asburry said. “I think that being together, working together [and] talking together helped us realize that we really are in this together, for the better of journalism.”
After all of the late nights, Wawa trips, competition deadlines, coffees and inside jokes, the students and advisers of The Round Up and The Lariat formed a bond, and are already looking forward to going back next year.
“I think FSPA fueled my fire to be the best yearbook adviser that I can be. It gave me a huge excitement for my future as an adviser and the yearbook’s future,” Yaeger said. “I’m definitely going back next year and we are kicking butt.”
Photo by The Lariat Photography