Statewide and international awards honor St. Joe high school journalists’ work

By Staff Reports
MADISON – Two St. Joe seniors, Emerson Erwin and Adriana Terrazas, received all-state honors at Mississippi’s spring high school student media awards announced at the University of Mississippi.
Another senior, Paige Loyacono, finished third in a separate international competition sponsored by Quill & Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists. Loyacono won for a multimedia story about a student garden at St. Anthony Catholic School.

“These are impressive achievements,” said Dr. Dena Kinsey, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School. “Our student journalists are a hard-working, dedicated group who regularly produce high-quality video productions including an award-winning weekly newscast.

MADISON – St. Joseph Catholic School student journalists recently attended the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Spring 2024 convention at the University of Mississippi. Students left the convention winning 22 awards in the Best of Mississippi and Best of Show competitions including seven first-place finishes and two students – seniors Emerson Erwin and Adriana Terrazas – receiving All-State honors. Students celebrating their wins and attending the event included the following: On the back row from left, Fletcher Goodwin, Thierry Freeman, Luke Jones and Davis Hammond. Third row from left: Connor Odom, Elizabeth Vanderloo, Emma O’Brien, Paige Loyacono, Mabry Hirn, Zaniah Purvis, Landry Erwin, Maddie-Claire Spence, Stella McCarty, Alex Hood and Jason Buckley. Second row from left: Campbell Miller, Adriana Terrazas, Emerson Erwin, Andrew Doherty and Adam Williams. Front: Malick Yedjou, left and Nick Burger.

“St. Joe has the best high school student media program in Mississippi. The awards our students regularly win highlight that fact. It sets them apart from all other programs in the state and around the nation. I’m incredibly proud of their success.”

Erwin’s and Terrazas’ awards were two of 22 honors St. Joseph Catholic School took home from the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association spring convention April 2 on the University of Mississippi campus. The 22 awards included six first-place finishes.

Hundreds of high school journalists from across Mississippi attended the MSPA convention where they participated in breakout sessions designed to help them improve their skills at reporting, interviewing, writing, photography and more.

The day ended with a keynote speech and the spring MSPA awards program. This marked the third straight year Erwin received all-state honors and the second that Terrazas received the same honor – both part of the Best of Mississippi awards competition.

Also honored in the Best of Mississippi awards were “JV Bruin News Now,” named the state’s best middle school newscast, and Bruin Sports Radio’s live coverage of St. Joe varsity girls basketball, named the best live-stream program.

On top of that, sophomore Zaniah Purvis won Best In-Studio Anchor; senior Malick Yedjou won Best Live-Stream On-Air Talent; seventh-grader Ava Harris won Best Middle School Video Sports Story; and seventh-grader Margaret Klar won Best Middle School Video Feature Story.

In the Best of Show competition – a contest that saw middle and high school students compete against each other in the same categories – seventh-grader Mamie Heitzmann defeated high school entries for Best Sports Story.

In a separate, international contest sponsored by Quill & Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists, Loyacono placed third for a feature story. She competed against entries from across the United States including California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and Texas.

St. Joe students can take Print Journalism, Broadcast Journalism and Sports Broadcasting classes, three of many electives the school offers. Journalism students produce a weekly video newscast, “Bruin News Now”; a Wednesday news update, “BNN Midweek Paws”; a Monday sports preview, “What’s Bruin”; and a school yearbook, The Shield.

Journalism students also webcast sports live on the “Bruin News Now” YouTube channel as well as broadcast the audio feed live over WJXC-LP Jackson, Mississippi Catholic Radio, 107.9 FM. The radio station studio is in the journalism classroom.

“The awards my students won say more than I can about the hard work, dedication and pride they have in the work they produce,” said Terry Cassreino, a former longtime Mississippi journalist who has taught high school journalism at St. Joe since 2012.

“These students put in long hours before school, after school, at nights and even on the weekends to create high-quality, award-winning work,” he said. “I am so proud that their efforts have been recognized on a state and national level.”