Play earns All-American rating

Kiara Ehrmann, Engagements Editor

Dan Loving
Current Play staff poses for picture with National Scholastic Press Association plaque. Play earned an All-American with Five Marks of Distinction rating from the NSPA critiques for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) asks for a collection of journalistic work from student newspapers, magazines and yearbooks in order to critique and rate them on a scale from Third-Class to All-American, with All-American being the highest rating available.

For the 2016-2017 school year, the Maize High Play Newsmagazine earned the rating of All-American with Five Marks of Distinction, these included coverage and content, visuals and presentation. The rating was provided by the NSPA after a collection of six issues are submitted from the contest year

The critique was judged by Donna Griffin, a journalism teacher at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“To say I’m impressed with your drive, your bravery, your strong sense of ethical, responsible leadership is an understatement,” Griffin said in the critique. “Every issue brims with energy, excellence and a true commitment to journalism at a professional level.”

Dan Loving, the Play adviser for the past six years, said that the magazines have earned an All-American rating three years since he became the adviser.

Loving said that as far as he can remember, the magazines have never earned five marks of distinction, leaving this the highest rating they have earned in the past six years. After having led the class to earn this superior rating, Loving said he still believes there is room for improvement.

“There are always things we can improve on — from issue to issue and from year to year,” Loving said. “Too many to list, really. It’s just a matter of being as good as you can be on any given day.”

Last year, the Play staff had a total of 28 students along with the adviser and teacher, Dan Loving. Of these 28 students, eight were editors. The editors were Kendra Cunningham, Emily Brecht, Lyndsey Piska, Lily McClaren, and Seniors Savie Hughes, Lizzie Bell, Andrea Furman and Junior Bailey Birkholz.

Cunningham was last year’s editor-in-chief and has since graduated. She was a member of the Play staff for all four years of her high school career, and held the editor-in-chief position for her junior and senior year.

During my time as editor, I never focused on the “critique,” necessarily,” Cunningham said. “Our goal as a staff was to create excellent work – whatever awards, critiques or recognitions that came of that work are simply an added bonus.”

This year’s editor-in-chief is senior Savie Hughes. Hughes was the online editor for half of her sophomore and all of her junior year, meaning she was in charge of the Play website.

Her junior year, she took on a lot of other tasks and gradually became more involved in editing the print stories as well as learning some of the responsibilities of editor-in-chief. Hughes was also main editor for one of the later issues in the year.  

“I think this is a staff accomplishment,” Hughes said. “We couldn’t have won this award without hours and hours of work from our reporters and our editors. I think we all should be excited and understand that what we have going as a publication is special and we should strive to continue it.”