April 7, 2016 – Students at Bartlesville High School have added yet another string of state championships to an impressive year for the school, after winning two sweepstakes awards for the high school newspaper, The Fourth Estate, and a magazine, 4E Plus.

The awards were handed out Monday during the Oklahoma Scholastic Media’s conference on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

According to BHS journalism adviser Darla Tresner, this is the first statewide championship for the journalism program in the past several years. She said she was extremely proud and emotional for her students when the awards were announced.

“It touches me very deeply because they work so hard and so little public recognition, in general, for their hours and talents,” Tresner said. “These students don’t receive a send-off party or an assembly for them when they go off to competition. If you could have seen the looks on their faces Monday, it was just priceless. It makes it all worthwhile.”

The journalism department, called Media Prime, at Bartlesville High School puts out several publications throughout the school year for the student body. Media Prime Editor-In-Chief Parker Acree is a senior who oversees all the publications.

“Winning sweepstakes has finally proven that we can do it,” Acree said. “This is the first year for the schools to be combined, and we had a lot of new faces that hadn’t worked together before. It proved that we can put our individual talents together and make winning paper.”

Senior Haley Roszel is the editor of the magazine 4E Plus, which also won the sweepstakes award, said she had doubts on the quality of the magazine, and winning was a total surprise to her. This school year was the first year for 4E Plus to be produced by the students.

“It was nice to win because honestly, throughout the year, I was questioning if the magazine was good enough,” Roszel said. “The hard work we did actually accomplished something a means something. I am very proud that we did this in our first year.”

Other than the two publications winning state championships, four BHS journalism students also took home individual state championship awards as well.

Sophomore Edward Reali is the social media editor for The Fourth Estate, and also takes photographs. An Oct. 7 photograph, taken by Reali, shows an emotional moment between BHS head football coach John McKee and player Nate Hansen. Hansen lost his younger brother, Burk, earlier last year in a tragic accident while using an ATV.

During a Bartlesville football game versus Muskogee, McKee presented a check for $2,001 — in recognition of the year Burk was born — to the PlayForBurk Foundation, and a specially-designed helmet to Nate Hansen. Reali caught the moment on camera and the photograph won the state individual championship in sports photography.

“I was relatively new to photography, and I don’t think it was the actual photo that mattered,” Reali said. “It was more the composition and the event that the photo was portraying that made it so special.”

Sophomore Rachel Brown won the individual state championship award in feature writing for an Oct. 30 article on Razia Jan and filmmaker Beth Murphy. Jan championed girls education in Afghanistan by establishing the Zabuli Education Center in 2008. Murphy filmed a documentary about the girls school and Jan’s struggles in her native Afghanistan.

“I didn’t realize that the article was that good until I read through it again after it was published,” Brown said. “I thought that it was a really unique article after that. When it won (the championship)I was sitting there in shock for a moment. It didn’t feel real.”

Senior Ashlynn Robbins took home the state championship in personality profile writing for her story about fellow BHS senior and world-class swimmer Haley Downey. Toward the end of June, Downey is set to compete in the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. The event will decide which swimmers will represent the United States in this year’s Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“It was the first story I ever wrote, so I definitely wasn’t expecting to win,” Robbins said. “It was a nice surprise. I am glad more people got to read about Haley because our school should be really proud of her.”

Lauren Szmutko is a junior and is the editor of The Fourth Estate. She also holds the title of vice president of Oklahoma Scholastic Media. Szmutko designed a photo essay on the Lady Bruins softball team. Her efforts paid off by winning an individual state championship for the design.

“I was up there as vice president helping hand out the awards and I didn’t hear my name called at first,” Szmutko said. “The executive director looked at me and then it finally processed that I had won. I didn’t have time to process it until we got on the bus to come home. I am so proud of the (journalism student) staff here at BHS for how we represented ourselves on Monday.”

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