Small but mighty Orbiter staffs wins OSMA

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

With a staff of three, The Orbiter, Streetsboro High School's newspaper, has done it again.

It won its division at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association's contest April 4 and 5 for the sixth time in the eight years it's competed, according to an April 8 news release from Streetsboro High School Journalism teacher Polly Dierkens.

Streetsboro High School senior Maddie Oslejsek, sophomore Madeline Zupko and sophomore Imani Tuck contributed nearly all the work toward the three editions of The Orbiter which were submitted to the contest.

"I think it's a tribute to their enthusiasm and their work effort," said Dierkens. "I'm fairly hands-off. I don't do the layout for them. I don't write their stories. Most of the time, they don't need help."

An OSMA judge evaluates the three issues, taking into account coverage, writing and editing, photography, design and leadership.

The Orbiter staff also participated in competitions the day of the event, with Zupko, the editor-in-chief, placing third in "Day of Interview," in which she had to participate in a press conference and interview Mizzell Stewart III, the vice president of EW Scripps Co.

"You could feel the competition," she said. "Everyone was being really nice, but as soon as it was time to write, everyone stopped talking; it was just silence."

She had two hours to get the article done, and timing was her biggest challenge.

"I'm used to having a couple days and being able to interview more than one person," she said.

Oslejsek received a superior rating for a personality profile of Streetsboro High School graduate Dorian Williams, who is balancing football and academics at Princeton University.

She also competed in "Day of Commentary" in which she had two hours to respond in agreement or against a prompt. She said she had to answer "whether personal technology should be brought into the classroom."

She argued personal technology, such as cell phones and tablets, should be permitted in the classroom and said she tried to find a good anecdote backing her argument.

"I ended up finding some information on a school in Kentucky that had a BYOT [Bring Your Own Technology] policy," she said. "The hardest part of the commentary was finding the information to back me up."

Streetsboro High School Senior Catie Carey, a yearbook staff member who's taking journalism as a senior, won the "Day of News" category in which she said she had to "go around and had to write about what was going on and what OSMA was like."

"People talked to us for about a half hour, and I left about a half hour for interview time," she said. "It was fun and adventurous, but I was nervous because it was my first time writing a story like that."

Yearbook staffer Sam Soltis placed first for her work in the "Day of Photography" event, according to the news release.

Other yearbook members received honors in a variety of yearbook categories, as well.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9440

Twitter: @thegatewaynews

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