Blueprint students win Pa. Press Club awards


BluePrint writers Jake Mercer, Olivia Hess, Bailee Conway, Jacob Hawn, and Brandon Buss all won awards Pa. Press Club awards. (Courtesy photo)

BluePrint writers once again earned statewide recognition last week, this time in the Pa. Press Club High School Journalism Contest.

The BluePrint had a total of 5 place winners in the top three of three separate categories, headed by seniors Jacob Hawn and Bailee Conway, who each had first place finishes.

Jake Mercer won second place and Brandon Buss took home third place finishes in their respective categories, and Olivia Hess took home a third-place award.

Hawn was the overall winner in the category of sports stories for his story on the shortage of PIAA certified referees in Pennsylvania. It’s the same story that won first place at the Keystone Media awards and was recognized as in Best of SNO.

It’s the third time this year BluePrint writers have been recognized for statewide awards.

Hawn felt honored to win the award.

“I had no idea that it would win three separate awards. It’s cool to see something that I wrote gain this much recognition,” he said.

Jake thinks that this is a topic that everyone can relate to. He went on to say, “There are multiple resources and quotes in this story that give it the credibility it possesses. Mr. Naylor and I knew that the potential of this story, and we spent a lot of time making sure it was the best that it could be.”

Bailee Conway won 1st place in the news story category. Her story was about COVID-19’s lingering effects on Bellwood-Antis learners.

“It feels very honoring and motivating (to win writing awards),” Conway said. “Before BluePrint I would have never even batted an eye at journalism/media, but now I’m looking into it for college. It keeps me wanting to get better and better.”

Advisor Mr. Naylor is very impressed by the staff and how far they have come.

“I’m very proud of our staff and this group of writers for maintaining a standard of excellence we’ve been able to upload for a while now,” he said. “It takes a lot of hard work and effort and positive attitude to write, edit, rewrite, and edit some more.”

Bellwood took two medals in the category of columns or blogs. Jacob Mercer took second place with his review of the Led Zeppelin album Led Zeppelin III, and and Brandon Buss takes 3rd for his video game review column titled Game On.

Olivia Hess took 3rd in the category of sports story. Her story focused on superstitions that affect athletes at Bellwood-Antis.

For Hess, it was the third time she has been honored this year. She won the PSPA regional news writing contest in November, placed 3rd at the state contest last month, and has been featured in Best of SNO.

“Year in and year out Bellwood just has kids who produce,” Mr. Naylor said. “It’s kind of crazy. They hold their own with students from amazing schools like Malvern Prep and the Haverford School and schools from the suburbs of Pittsburgh. They really take a backseat to no one.”