15 Sep 2014
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Lemont Sends a Record Seven Qualifiers to IHSA Journalism State Finals

The students will compete at the 2014 IHSA Journalism State Finals, which will be contested at the Buzzard Building on the campus of Eastern Illinois University on Friday, May 2

Lemont Sends a Record Seven Qualifiers to IHSA Journalism State Finals
After sending five students to state finals competition three of the last four years, Lemont High School has qualified a record number of students to vie for state titles in 2014. Seven students—including seniors Erin Bendle, Mandy Gieseler and Ingrid Lejins; juniors Helen Kollarik, Joshua Traynere and Kristin Washagan; and sophomore Frank Vaughn—finished among the three in their respective categories at the IHSA Moraine Valley Sectional, qualifying them to compete at the 2014 IHSA Journalism State Finals, which will be contested at the Buzzard Building on the campus of Eastern Illinois University on Friday, May 2. All seven will be making their state finals debuts.

Lemont not only advanced a record number of students to the IHSA State Finals, but its runner-up finish in the team standings marked the program’s best placement in sectional competition. Lemont’s previous best team effort came in 2011, when it was fourth at the Lewis University Sectional.

Bendle was Lemont’s top performer at the sectional, winning the Editorial Cartooning competition.

Traynere (Info Graphics), Vaughn (Yearbook Layout) and Washagan (Feature Writing) all were runners-up in their respective categories. Gieseler (Yearbook Copy Writing), Kollarik (Copy Editing) and Lejins (Review Writing) all earned third-place finishes.

Homewood-Flossmoor (64 points) was the only team to top Lemont (51) in the IHSA Moraine Valley Sectional team standings. The rest of the top five included T.F. South (41), Shepard (29) and Eisenhower (27).

Bendle, Kollarik, Lejins, Traynere and Washagan all are staff members of the Tom-Tom, the school’s newspaper. Gieseler and Vaughn are staff members of The Keepatawn, the school’s yearbook. Lemont’s Journalism advisor is Sean Clark, while its yearbook advisors are Ann Marie Rafacz and Ashley Good.

The IHSA Journalism State Finals includes contests in 16 categories, with students being asked to meet a different challenge in each competition. The top three finishers in each category from seven IHSA Sectionals advance to compete at the IHSA State Finals.

Lemont has advanced qualifiers to the IHSA Journalism State Finals six consecutive years. Its top finisher was Charmaine Balisalisa ‘12, who won a state title in the Info Graphics category in 2012. David Timm ‘10 (2010; 4th - Headline Writing), Madeleine George ‘12 (2012; 4th - Feature Photography) and Laura Harding ‘13 (2013; 3rd - Editorial Writing) also have placed in their categories in state finals competition.

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