Outstanding individual performances lead to outstanding team accomplishments. The Oak Lawn Community High School Journalism team had six individuals place in the top six at the Illinois High School Association Journalism State Finals at Heartland Community College in Normal, Ill., on April 21. These students scored in five events to earn nineteen points, placing OLCHS in 5th Place overall in the State competition. 
The Spartans won two state individual champions with Brendan Gallian placing first in State for Sports Writing, and Christian Sweis for taking first in State for Editorial Cartooning. Additional recognition came as senior Ash Argueta earned fourth place in Copy Editing, junior Grace Tynski paced fifth in Feature Writing, and the dynamic duo of Mia Reyes and Staci Sandquist took fifth place in Yearbook Theme development. 
Argueta provided some leadership and experience as she reached the State Finals for three consecutive years.
Argueta commented, “As president of the Journalism Team, I am so proud of everyone for working so hard. The competition this year was definitely tough. This was my third year as a state qualifier, and even though I didn’t win first place, it was still exhilarating to finally get called up onto the stage and receive a medal. It was an exciting conclusion to my high school journalism career.”
Argueta was not the only team member excited for the opportunity to compete at the State Finals.
Reyes said, “I was very nervous and excited at State, I saw many groups competing in Yearbook Theme Development with Staci and me. Although many people were competing against us, I knew we were prepared. This was a fun and great experience; I can’t wait to return to State next year!
“The team has been preparing the Journalism season by writing articles for the Spartanite (school newspaper), working on yearbook, and creating videos for the video club. This tournament is a way to see how your journalistic abilities compare with some of the best schools in the state.”
Tynski was one of those students interested in seeing how her writing compares to other state journalists. Tynski said, “Placing at State was such a rewarding experience! It’s super validating to have my writing recognized at a high level, and I’m really glad I got to help the Journalism team gain success.”





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