Four Bozeman High School students recently received awards in the Montana High School Better Newspaper contest for their work with the Hawk Tawk high school newspaper.
Will Meyer won the Student Free Press Award, Emma Light won first place for feature photography, Logan Walker won second place for editorial cartoons, and Josh Stevens won first place for sports photography and third place for news photography.
Meyer was recognized for his work to prevent administrative censorship of the Hawk Tawk after the Bozeman High School administration stopped the student-run paper from printing the average GPAs of sports teams that fell below 3.0.
"Leaving off the lowest three GPAs just led to speculation about why the missing teams weren't listed," Meyer said. "Instead of people seeing football's average of 2.7, which was one of the highest compared to other AA football programs, people were left guessing and joking about how low the football teams GPA was.
"Editing the list also made the school look like it had something to hide, instead of being open and transparent," he added.
The lowest three GPAs were never printed in the Hawk Tawk, but Meyer wrote an editorial about the incident. The athletic GPA's from BHS, along with all other AA high schools, are available to the public on the Montana High School Sports website, according to Meyer.
Meyer will be editor-in-chief for Hawk Tawk starting in the fall.
Light graduated this spring and plans to major in photography at Montana State University.
Stevens also plans on attending MSU for business.
Walker drew cartoons for the paper, but was not part of the journalism class.
"Hawk Tawk really helped me figure out what I want to do as a career," Light said. "Anything that is related to photojournalism is one step closer to my dream of being a National Geographic photographer, so Hawk Tawk is a step."
The Hawk Tawk has undergone many changes over the past two years. The paper used to be printed every two weeks and was funded partially by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. However budget cuts have led to the Hawk Tawk being published monthly. Also, the students are now in charge of coordinating their own advertisers.
"What's disappointing though is that the school doesn't pay for any of the printing costs," Meyer said. "Since Hawk Tawk is how most people in the community stay connected with the high school, it makes sense that the school would support printing the paper financially."
"But I think it's definitely a good experience to be involved in the advertising side," Light said.
Hawk Tawk advisor, Hilary Klug, could not be reached for comment.
Samantha Booth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org