KANSAS CITY NORTH, Mo. -- At Winnetonka High School, the students' publications are first class. At least, that's the rating they recently got from the National Scholastic Press Association.
The team behind the publications was scored on coverage, photography, writing and design for the schools' Griffin Rites news magazine and Odyssey yearbook from last school year, and getting the first class rating wasn't easy.
"This is during class; this is after school; this is staying nights here," junior Makenzie Jackson said. "It's so much work to be able to put in."
All those extra hours paid off.
"I cried when I found out," Jackson said. "I did. It meant so much to me."
Their adviser, journalism teacher Laura Williams, is proud of her intelligent and creative team.
"They're always learning, always willing to improve," she said.
The students' publications competed against thousands of entries.
"They worked super hard, and I think they earned it from following all the guidelines of creating a good news magazine and creating a good yearbook," Williams said.
Junior Katie Bullock, features editor of Griffin Rites, said it's the way the team chose to write their stores and tackle problems with solutions that made them stand out.
"You can't just want to write stories. You have to want to change," she said. "We don't want to just tell stories. We want to make an impact with the stories we're telling."
And by the looks of it, they're doing just that.
"I was just excited about for the kids because they work so hard," Williams said.
In addition to the first class rating, Griffin Rites staff earned two marks of distinction in coverage and content and presentation.
Winnetonka's online news site, Tonka News, also received a first class rating and was nominated for a National Pacemaker Award -- the National Scholastic Press Association's top award for high school journalists.
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