Lawrence High School senior wins Kansas Student Journalist of the Year award

photo by: Lawrence school district

Superintendent Anthony Lewis congratulates Lawrence High School senior Maya Smith for winning the Kansas Student Journalist of the Year award, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, at LHS.

A Lawrence High School student has won the Kansas Student Journalist of the Year award.

Maya Smith, a senior, was given the award Wednesday by Kansas Scholastic Press Association Executive Director Eric Thomas in a surprise ceremony attended by LHS students and staff and Smith’s family.

A second year editor-in-chief of the Red and Black Yearbook and a third-year student journalist, Smith has earned previous recognition for her photography, writing and design. She is the second LHS student journalist to earn the statewide honor, according to a news release from the Lawrence school district. Cuyler Dunn received it in 2022, and LHS alumna Traci Carol earned second place in the state contest in 1991.

Smith is the student of educator and journalism adviser Barb Tholen.

Thomas said that a panel of experts in professional, college and scholastic journalism judged Smith’s portfolio and selected her for the award and a $1,250 scholarship. Reading some of the judges’ comments, he said, “This is an exceptional portfolio of experience from start to finish … A truly committed journalist who is providing outstanding work to her school and the community in a tangible, visible way … Some really strong images from such a balanced journalist … Exceptional grasp of how design can showcase photo-storytelling.”

Judges will review the portfolios of all state winners and award additional scholarships this spring. The Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association’s Spring National High School Journalism Convention will be in Kansas City, Missouri, April 4-6.

Smith thanked the crowd for letting her “interview … and take thousands of pictures” of them, the release said.


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