Conway, Hawn recognized in national contest


Caleb Beiswenger

Jacob Hawn and Bailee Conway took second place in a national journalism among a field of competitors from across the country.

A pair of senior writers on the BA BluePrint staff capped a decorated year with a final recognition of their work yesterday.

Bailee Conway and Jacob Hawn learned that their stories took second place at the national level of the National Federation of Press Women journalism contest. Earlier this month, both Conway and Hawn were named first-place winners in the affiliate state contest hosted by the Pa. Press Club.

Full results are available here.

”This is really incredible for both of these writers and it really shows how good the stories they wrote were,” said BluePrint advisor Mr. Kerry Naylor. “Those stories have legs. Both of them were written before Christmas and they continue to be awarded, so they obviously have impact. They have each won several awards in different contests already, and now to see them go head-to-head with great stories from across the country is pretty impressive.”

Conway earned second in the news category for her story “COVID’s lingering effects: Test scores fall with the rest of nation, but improvements are in place.” The same story took second in news at the Keystone Media awards. The story compares B-A test scores following COVID sanctions with those of schools across the US and delves into programs the district has initiated to mitigate setbacks in learning that occurred due to lockdowns and distance learning.

Jessy Gone from Huntley High School in Huntley, Illinois won the news category with her story “Stay Positive Dawgs.”

Hawn placed second in sports stories with his story “Referee shortage sweeps the state.” It detailed a growing issue for the PIAA – the lack of new referees joining the profession and the causes behind the decline. The story had already received a Best of SNO award and taken first place at the Keystone Media awards.

Hawn’s category was won by Michael Messele from East Mecklenburg High School in North Carolina. His story was titled “Hohm swims his way to UNC commitment.”

”The success of these stories mirrors the success of the kids who wrote them,” said Mr. Naylor. “Both Jacob and Bailee put in a lot of effort and leg work for those stories. They dug deep with extensive interviews and rewrote and rewrote, taking any suggestions for improvement to heart. Combine that work ethic with the obvious talent they have as writers, and good things are bound to happen.”

The awards cap a very successful year for the BluePrint, which placed second in the category of news website at the Kedystone Media awards.Last week, the publication secured its ninth straight SNO Distinguished Site recognition. Six writers from the 10-person class have had their work recognized at state and regional journalism contests, including Olivia Hess, Brandon Buss, and Jacob Mercer.