Journalism Wins Back-To-Back State Champs

Journalism Team Continues Winning Legacy

The Journalism team holds up their plaque at the district meet. They received First Place Journalism Team

Jaida Jones, Staff Writer

The keyboards clack all around them in varying degrees. Each letter brings someone closer and closer to victory. These students are determined to win. The proctor calls “Time. Hands Up” and one-by-one, the LHS journalism team happily prints out their papers. 

The journalism team recently won back-to-back state championships, with this year’s win netting an impressive 68 points overall. 2022 state competitors included seniors Vivian Lehmann, Lian Boone, and Marlee Sorrells. 

“UIL journalism is a team with a history of winning, and I am proud to be a part of it,” Sorrells said. “My team is extremely supportive and are always willing to talk out new AP style rules or have mini debates to help with Editorial. We put in a lot of hard work into our events and it shows through our success.”

Since 2003, the team has won 12 state championships and multiple individual state champion awards given. This year, Vivian Lehmann was State Champ in Editorial, Feature, and received Silver in Copy Editing. Lehmann was Tops in Texas in Editorial, which means she was the best of all 6 classifications (1A-6A). Lian Boone placed 4th in Editorial and Marlee Sorrells ranked 4th in News.

“I’m proud of my accomplishments because in a way, my effort has paid off,” Boone said. “This team has definitely worked hard to get where we are today.”

In 2020, UIL academics was canceled due to the COVID pandemic. This year was the first return to normalcy with traditional contests. Students were able to go back to regular practice meets and compete across the region for practice.  Students also went to Caney Creek in Conroe this year for an invitational as well.

“What I am most proud of is how dedicated and tight-knit this group has been over the years,” sponsor Neda Morrow said. “Journalism is what I call a ‘no-clap’ set of contests.  No one is cheering them from the bleachers.  There are no standing ovations or flowers given after they compete.  It’s a grind with little acknowledgement. Yet, they put in the work anyway.  I am so proud of them.”

In 2021, the contests were held in ‘pod’ sites around the state with COVID protocols in place.  The trip to Austin was canceled, and awards were given out on campuses. 2021 Winners included Lehmann won a state championship in editorial writing and placed second in copy writing and feature writing. Junior Kylie Hester won 2nd in news, and alumnus John Park placed 3rd in news. 

“It feels amazing, knowing that our team has contributed so much to the overall academic championships every year,” Lehmann said. “All our hard work pays off in the end, and there’s nothing better than seeing everyone’s faces light up when we hear our names announced during the awards ceremony.”

Only three students are able to advance to the next level at both district and regionals. Regionals were held at Texas A&M Commerce State where the team competed against 25 other students. The State event was held at UT Austin with the three girls going up against the top 12 students across the state. 

“Competition at State was really tough this year,” Morrow said.  “4A has some outstanding writers, but my girls came to win and they gave everything they had toward that goal.”

The team was made up of 10 individual competitors, 3 of whom medaled at State. Next year, there will be four returning to the team ready to compete.

“I remember when this particular group of kiddos was first learning how to compete in journalism their first year,” sponsor Neda Morrow said. “They were so nervous and tentative at first, but they had a desire to become champions, and they have.