Bullseye Staff Earns 5th Place Finish at 2021 KSPA State Contest

Journalism students place in multiple categories in the 2021 KSPA State contest for the first time in Maize South High history.


Photo by Piper Pinnetti

Two days after the final state announcements on Monday, May 3 the Bullseye staff made a trip to coffee house and bakery MOXI Junction to celebrate their victory. For the first time in over a year, MOXI Junction opened their doors again to welcome customers in after COVID-19 effected the community.

Piper Pinnetti, Bullseye Editor-in-Chief

Last Saturday, journalism and video students of Maize South continually refreshed their Twitter feed with the hope that they placed in the Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) State competition.
For the first time in school history, Maize South had students place and eventually earned a 5th Place finish in the 5A division. The school scored points based on individual and team results with 23 total points on the day.

First-year staffers Alexis Baty and videographer Lakin Zamorano took home two wins each in Multimedia Storytelling, Editorial Cartoon and Video News. Editor-In-Chief Piper Pinnetti placed in two categories for the first time in her four-year career. Seniors Jake Brown and Tanner Easley became the first ever state champions in the Public Service Announcement category with the theme of supporting local businesses.

In the beginning of the semester, Bullseye advisor Spencer O’Daniel asked the staff of six to make three team goals for their spring semester, one of which being in the top five programs in the 5A state division. The staff reached all three of their goals as well as personal goals that included placing at KSPA contest, using more multimedia and becoming better teammates to one another.

“I think all things considered with five of six people being new on staff and juggling different learning models, losing our Web-Editor in February that knew the website well, there were so many obstacles to overcome,” O’Daniel said. “For me it is one of the defining teacher moments of my career. I have been at places where you have to start at the bottom and I have been at places with an established level of greatness, like at Kansas State. To see students buy into the idea of how to build a program without losing momentum because of our obstacles is extremely gratifying. This gives me a new perspective on why I do what I do.

Videographer Lakin Zamorano for the Bullseye is also a member of the OneMa1ze Show and is the only student to place in a category at state for both journalism programs. A majority of the students placing for Maize South will return next year to take Converged Media.

O’Daniel also advises The OneMa1zes Broadcasting program that combines both Maize South and Maize High students. In total, Maize South also submitted six video entries. Seniors Jake Brown and Tanner Easley, most known for their OneMa1ze Podcast shows, were filled with excitement after the announcement of their championship winning entry on Saturday afternoon.

“Winning state was a really good feeling, and very surprising,” Brown said. “Neither of us expected to place in any category at all. We laughed when we won because it was so surprising.”  

Writer and photographer Bridget Johnson placed in the Multimedia state contest during her first year on staff.

“I originally took this class because I needed to fill in an empty block in my schedule,” Johnson said. “I never thought I would like the class as much as I did and I am really happy that I placed in what I at state.”

Beginning next year, the Maize South Bullseye staff and Maize High’s Play staff will combine their print and digital efforts, similar to The OneMa1ze Show and become a combined publication aimed at covering both high schools, the Maize community and entire USD 266 district.

O’Daniel knows even greater things are coming for student media in the USD 266 district.

“I can’t help but be excited at the possibilities of working with Dan Loving and combining not only our newsmagazine staffs, but having that multimedia component to pair with our stories, designs and photography,” said O’Daniel. “Our best work is yet to come and it’s realistic to think we will challenge for a state 5A title next year combining our teams.”