Joliet West journalists advance to State competition


Sydney Czyzon and Courtney Rubino

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, the members of the Joliet West High School journalism staff attended Illinois State University’s IHSA Journalism Sectionals where they placed in 12 of 17 categories, had five students advance to State, and placed third overall as a team.

Each student was given 90 minutes to complete their entry, except Photo Storytelling and Broadcast News, which received extended time. Students who placed first through third advanced to State, while first through sixth place scored points for the overall team.

Sophomore Mykiyah Jackson placed first in Editorial Cartooning and third in Infographics, sophomore Anna Eklund placed second in Newspaper Layout, sophomore Emma Regal placed third in Copy Editing and third in Headline Writing, senior Courtney Rubino placed first in Yearbook Copy Writing, and senior Sydney Czyzon placed first in News Writing and third in Editorial Writing.

Other students who placed included senior Kelsey Warren with fifth place in Yearbook Layout Double Spread, sophomore Alex Lopez with fifth place in Advertising, junior Andrea Paolone and senior Serena Gregory with sixth place in Yearbook Theme & Development, and senior Iaya Bacot with sixth place in Photo Storytelling.

Adviser Jennifer Galloy is very proud of her students’ accomplishments. “We worked hard all year long on our journalism skills to be able to compete at the Sectional level. I’m very proud of all of the students’ efforts who participated that day, as placing in 12 of the 17 offered categories proves our students stepped up to the challenge and proved themselves,” she stated.

Sophomore Mykiyah Jackson was shocked when she found out she won in both of her categories. “I was very unsure of myself competing in those two categories until I found out that I won. It was a really nerve-wracking experience, but this class helped me through my nervousness,” she explained. “Now I feel more confident and I’m ready to compete at State.”

She also expressed her gratitude for those who helped her win. “Most of all, I’m really thankful for the help and training from Mrs. Galloy, [Assistant Community Relations Director] Jordan Smuksta, and my classmates,” Jackson said.

Sophomore Emma Regal was determined to represent her school in a positive way. “Going in, I was really nervous because I wanted to represent us well. I was super happy when I won. I felt like I worked really hard to get that, especially since it was my first time competing,” sophomore Emma Regal stated. “Going into State, I’m really excited that I can try to improve and do better and that’s what I hope to do.”

Anna Eklund prepared extensively for Sectionals, and plans to do the same for State. “Going into it, I was nervous but I also was confident that I could do it and I was excited to experience it for the first time. I was proud of myself for doing something that I practiced hard for. In the next week, I’ll practice more to ensure that I’m prepared for State and I’m excited because it’ll be a learning experience,” Eklund stated.

Senior Courtney Rubino came out on top in her category, even after she had doubts. “I was excited to get the opportunity to compete with the team, but I was also very nervous because I wanted to do the best I could. As they were announcing the winners, I was doubting myself and when they called my name, I was extremely overjoyed,” she expressed. “Sydney and I were so happy and emotional, we even cried. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish at State.”

Senior Sydney Czyzon is also looking forward to this year’s State competition. “Going into Sectionals, I was really optimistic about the talents on our team. Every single person is unique and I knew we could win if we put our minds to it. Winning this year was surreal and my classmates were so supportive. We were the loudest team in the auditorium but we didn’t care. Being able to go to State with my co-Editor-in-Chief Courtney is going to be the best end-of-year experience I could’ve asked for.”

The team will leave Thursday afternoon to attend the IHSA Journalism State competition on Friday, April 29 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, where they hope to bring home more awards.