Communications Program Hosts High School Journalism Competition


The Communications Program hosted the Pennsylvania School Press Association’s 2022 Regional Competition on Nov. 2.

More than 70 high school students from Altoona, State College, Purchase Line and Bellefonte Area High Schools visited SFU and participated in the event.

The event included competitions in multiple journalism categories and allowed the visiting students to showcase the skills that they have developed while working with their schools’ yearbooks and newspapers, as well as their experiences in broadcasting, magazine writing and layout, artwork, poetry and photography.

“This is the largest attendance that we have ever had,” said Pennsylvania School Press Association Executive Board Member Nate Thompson.

The participating students were provided a rubric prior to each competition, as well as a set of instructions.

“To prepare for the contest, I looked over some artwork and poems,” said Aleah Layton, a junior at Altoona High School and a competitor in the Magazine Art category.

The event included a panel discussion with SFU Communications students, a campus tour, a photography workshop, a keynote address from Anna Baughman, an alumna of SFU and editor of the “Morrisons Cove Herald” newspaper, and a presentation from Professor of Communications and author Pat Farabaugh on long-form journalism.

During her time at Saint Francis, Baughman served as editor of the “Troubadour.”

“The panel discussion was great for the kids,” said Thompson. “A lot of these kids are ninth, tenth and eleventh graders who have not even started looking at jobs and colleges yet.

“There are many different things that they can take away from this experience.”

The Communications student panel included Kesean Dyson, Lexie Laverty, Nico Nuzzo, Maddy Perry, Lindsey Slebodnik, Emese Szucs, Julia Willason and Abby Zambruno.

The panelists touched on their experiences in internships, classes, field trips, college life in general and how their learning has impacted their education and future career goals.

“I learned a lot,” said Jersey Hollabaugh, a junior at Altoona High School and competitor in the Caption Writing Category.

“Talking to the younger students put into perspective that we all started in the same place,” said Laverty, a junior Communications major. “It is up to you to decide where you take your future.

“The panel was intended to give advice for the younger students, but I think it also helped remind us of where we came from.”