By MADISON CREES
It is said that hard work and dedication pays off, and perhaps no one knows that better right now than the Guidon’s very own senior Anniston Weber.
The Co-Editor-in-Chief was recently awarded another honorable title as Kansas Scholastic Press Association Student Journalist of the Year for 3A/4A.
“I found out about it through a friend who sent me the links to the award after browsing the KSPA website,” Weber said. “I really want to be a journalist after high school so I figured ‘Hey, if I can potentially win this award then maybe it’ll prove that I’m gonna go somewhere with this journalism thing,’ especially since I’m from a small school in Midwestern Kansas.”
The award called for a well rounded journalist who understood journalistic qualities and abilities.
“I considered myself a decent candidate for this award just because of the sheer amount of time and effort I put into everything I submitted,” Weber said. “I didn’t necessarily expect to win but I had a good feeling after I submitted all of my materials.”
Weber created an online portfolio that showcased her writing and multimedia abilities. She started working on it in November and it took her until late January to finish it. In the portfolio were different example stories that Weber had written for categories such as Law and Ethics, News Literacy and Entrepreneurship from her total high school journalism career.
While Weber excels in and is dedicated to journalism now, she wasn’t always so keen on the idea of reporting.
“When I was a freshman I was involved in Spring Play and some of the people I enjoyed being around were planning on being in Newspaper,” Weber said. “So, I thought it was worth a shot to submit an application to be on the Guidon. After my sophomore year of being a journalist, I didn’t think I was going to continue.”
The future JoY recipient even wanted to drop at semester her junior year, but then something changed, and even she can’t explain it.
“Junior year, I really found an intense passion for posting online stories and covering as much news as I possibly could,” Weber said. “My aspirations for being a journalist really took off from then. Now as an Editor-in-Chief I see how running a newspaper works and just how great of an opportunity it has been to be a part of this team.”
Being on the team and winning this award even inspired Weber to pursue journalism as a career path.
“This all means so much to me,” Weber said. “This, to me, shows that other people see my work and think it’s just as good for me to continue with it, like I do. I’m looking forward to reading all the feedback the judges gave me on my portfolio and essay to see how I can advance myself as a journalist even more so than I have.”
Weber looks towards her feedback more than the actual award currently as she was surprised by the announcement and feels the whole situation hasn’t quite sunken in yet.
“Mr. Gasper decided to tell the entire Newspaper class that the administrators were coming in to observe our class,” Weber said. “Which, I thought, was a little strange. He then received flowers from his ‘wife.’ That wasn’t as strange because it is right after Valentine’s day but, then I left the room for a few minutes.”
When Weber arrived back, everyone was in their seats waiting for her.
“I sat down and was told I had won,” Weber said. “I got to stand up and take pictures with the principals and Mr. Gasper. The feeling did not sink in as I held my certificate, and still hasn’t.”
Weber will also be recognized at the KSPA state competition in early May, as well as receive a $750 cash prize that she will put towards college.
“I think it will be nerve wracking to have it announced,” Weber said. “Nerve wracking, but fulfilling as I did put so much into this. It’s so nice to be recognized by a large group of people for something you have dedicated yourself to.”
The whole situation is very emotional for the graduating senior.
“It’s such a great feeling to be recognized for something you spent so much time on and put so much of yourself into,” Weber said. “Journalism has become something that I don’t see as work. I see it as something I genuinely enjoy going out and doing. And not just writing, but going out and getting quotes and taking pictures—the interactive stuff. I enjoy the whole package now. It’s kind of like a dream job because they always tell you if you enjoy what you’re doing it’s not really work and I think that’s pretty accurate.”