Monday, March 26, 2001

Lakota writers win top awards

School magazine impresses Hemingway contest judges

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — They wrote about what teen-agers care about: classmates who aspire to become pastors, drunken driving, the difficulty of recovering from a serious accident.

        Three Lakota East High School seniors were named winners in three of four categories in the prestigious National Ernest Hemingway Writing Awards for high school journalists.

        Two of their classmates also were finalists in the competition, which drew more than 1,200 entries.

        It is the first time in the competition's six-year history that more than one student from the same school won, said Bill Norton, contest coordinator and teen editor for the Kansas City Star, which sponsors the competition.

        “It's an awesome program,” Mr. Norton said of Lakota East's student-run newsmagazine, Spark.“We've never had a school take more than one award at a time. They are just so strong. It's just so amazing.”

        The student winners are: Bryan Clark, sports writing; Amanda Fojtik, editorial writing; and Kendra Niland, feature writing. Finalists were Megan Varelmann, feature writing; and Andy Carstens, sports writing.

        Each of the three will receive a plaque and $2,500 during an April 21 luncheon in Kansas City with representatives from the Hemingway family. Hemingway started his career at the Star at the age of 18.

        The winners attributed their success to teamwork by the 117-member staff that publishes eight editions each year at a cost of $20,000, raised by the students through advertising, fund raisers and other sources.

        “If we had all day (to work on Spark) we'd be here,” said Ms. Fojtik, 17, who is co-chief editor with Mr. Clark.. “School, for us, is just an obstacle.”

        “They work so hard to get every angle and be accurate,” said the magazine's adviser, journalism teacher Dean Hume. “They are constantly a source of inspiration.”


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