Erickson leads B-A writers in Pa. Press Awards

%28Clockwise+from+top+left%29+Maggie+Erickson%2C+Jake+Bollinger%2C+Maria+Cuevas%2C+Julian+Bartlebaugh%2C+Jackson+Boyer%2C+and+Haley+Campbell%2C+each+received+writing+awards+for+the+Pa.+Press+Club.

Staff photos

(Clockwise from top left) Maggie Erickson, Jake Bollinger, Maria Cuevas, Julian Bartlebaugh, Jackson Boyer, and Haley Campbell, each received writing awards for the Pa. Press Club.

The B-A BluePrint writing staff may have only gotten six-and-a-half months of news coverage in this year, but senior Maggie Erickson made the  most of it.

Erickson learned on Thursday that she took first place in the feature writing category in the annual Pa. Press Club high school journalism awards. She was recognized for a story she wrote in December on 2006 Bellwood-Antis graduate Laura Garber, who struggled with a number of issues after graduating from high school, among them addiction, identity, and perfectionism.

Erickson was the top award-winner among six BluePrint writers to earn honors from the Pa. Press Club.

The story meant a lot to me because I can relate so much with the pressure of thinking everything has to be perfect all the time or else the world is going to collapse around me. A lot of time and work went into this article, and I am so proud of it.”

— Maggie Erickson

While it was Erickson’s first year as a member of the BluePrint staff, it was her second award of the school year. In October Erickson placed second in the news writing category at the Pennsylvania Student Press Association regional competition at Juniata College.

“I am so happy and honored to have won this award,” said Erickson. “The story meant a lot to me because I can relate so much with the pressure of thinking everything has to be perfect all the time or else the world is going to collapse around me. A lot of time and work went into this article, and I am so proud of it.”

Other award winners included editor Julian Bartlebaugh, Jackson Boyer, Jacob Bollinger, Haley Campbell, and Maria Cuevas.

“I’m really happy for Maggie because she has been one of those kids who have helped form the backbone of the BluePrint this year,” said advisor Mr. Kerry Naylor. “Every year you have those kids who are going to be your workhorses not only because they are good but because they can handle it, and that is Maggie. She takes so much pride in her stories, and she thrives on feedback. She always wants to know what can make something better. To be honest, with Maggie, there’s usually not much to improve because she is just that good. I am so proud of her for this honor.”

Bartlebaugh and Campbell teamed to earn second place in the news writing category for their story “B-A tries to move forward following board member’s arrest,” which covered the arrest of Jason Lynn, a school board member who was incarcerated in January for a number of crimes, including drug, gun, and theft-related felony and misdemeanor counts.

“That was a story Julian was very passionate about, and he couldn’t have done it in the timely fashion he did if it weren’t for Haley conducting some of the interviews to help piece it all together,” said Mr. Naylor. “Julian, as the editor, took a lot of pride this year in being the one to break the big stories, and he did a tremendous job.”

The story had already won a spot as a top story in the Best of SNO showcase.

Jackson Boyer won third place in the same category for his story “B-A teacher spending rises with national average.” The story detailed the amount of money B-A teachers spend out of pocket for their own classroom in comparison to teachers across the nation.

“Jackson is really good with taking complex stories with lots of moving pieces, seeing the big picture, and then putting it together in a way that would make sense, not just to students but to a general audience,” said Mr. Naylor. “This story is a great example of that. He put in a lot of work for it and interviewed a lot of people.”

Bollinger, who will start next year as the BluePrint’s sports editor, took second in the sports writing category for his article “Paying to play,” which investigated the phenomena of student athletes paying to play on travel sports teams and the benefits that can from it.

“Jake had a really good idea with this story from the very beginning,” said Mr. Naylor. “He talked to plenty of athletes from all different sports at B-A and also made some connections with coaches. Any time you put in the kind of work he did for this story, you’re going to create something special.”

Like Bartlebaugh’s story, Bollinger’s had already been featured in Best of SNO.

Maria Cuevas was awarded for one of the many football photos she took as the BluePrint’s photographer.

“Maria has a great eye for photography, and she really likes to take pictures,” Mr. Naylor said. “She shows a lot of dedication and anytime I ask her to take a picture of anything she’s all about it.”

In a normal year, award winners would soon travel to Lancaster County for an awards dinner, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions the banquet has been postponed and may not be made up this year.