JERSEYVILLE - Merris McDuffie, a Jersey Community High School Journalism student, won a third-place award for Headline Writing during the IHSA State Journalism Contest last weekend. Journalism Teacher Beth Morgan said McDuffie represented the school well at the state-level contest.

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“When Merris advanced to the state competition, we really had no idea what to expect,” Morgan said. “Hearing her name, along with our school’s name called as the third place winner out of the entire state, was an amazing feeling. I felt that she had really helped put our class and community on the map and hopefully helped inspire other students to enroll in the class.

“We were competing with schools across the entire state, many of whom have had journalism programs for many years, more access to equipment and supplies, et cetera, so we really just felt incredibly grateful to even be participants.”

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Two other students placed in the sectional competition: Kateryna Savienkova placed fourth in copy editing, and Reese Lorton placed fifth in feature writing.

Morgan said the name of their publication is “The Roar,” and began last school year as a way to share the good news happening at JCHS. It began as a website, then a newspaper, and will end the year as a magazine. While originally only focused on good news, Morgan said the program will move into more journalistic topics this year.

“At the beginning of the year, students learn about publication aspects, publication laws, writing for publication versus essay writing,” she said. “The goal of the program is to make all students better communicators. Many students have desires to go into journalism, so I hope to better prepare them for that future field.”

The Journalism class is open to juniors and seniors, but Morgan said sophomores can enroll if they are also enrolled in the school’s yearbook publication.

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