Red Lion Area Senior High School journalism student, Ben Otte, recently received accolades from the prestigious 2014 Student Keystone Press Contest. Otte placed in five of sixteen possible categories in the statewide competition.
Otte, a senior and co-editor of The Leonid, found out about winning the awards when he was congratulated in a tweet by a reporter from a local newspaper late Thursday, February 20, just after covering a school board meeting. He checked the contest’s website to verify the story.
“I was surprised not only that I won one, but five categories,” Otte said. “It’s definitely an honor. It shows that hard work pays off. I have big dreams in my life, and they are what drive me. These awards bring me a few steps closer to those dreams.”
Otte received two first-place awards. One is in the News Photo category for a picture from the Leonid’s Dec. 2013 issue entitled, “PRIDE Looks to Encourage School Spirit, Improve Atmosphere,” a photo of two Red Lion students making holiday cards during PRIDE period for hospital and nursing home patients.
The other is in the General News article category for “Conrad: More than a Game”. The article highlights former football coach Pat Conrad’s contributions to the Red Lion football program.
Second place finishes were recorded by Otte’s for his video feature story, “2011 Grad Surprises Former Teacher, Cancer Fighter,” a tear-jerking video in which Senior High health teacher Carrie Smeltzer receives a check from the proceeds from t-shirt sales in her honor.
Also in second place was Otte’s sports story, “Young Highly Ranked Vaulter in PIAA,” which featured 2013 grad, Amanda Young’s high school pole-vaulting career and college plans.
In an extremely proud moment for The Leonid and Red Lion technology education, Otte took second place in the state for the school paper’s website, TheLeonid.com, which Otte designs and maintains as part of Journalism III class.
The contest, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania News Media Association, “recognizes high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers,” according to the contest rules. Judges consist of Pennsylvania newspaper editors and college level newspaper advisors.
“I could not be more proud of Ben,” said journalism teacher and Leonid advisor, Mrs. Carol Kelkis. “He works around the clock to find news and produce media products that are professional, exciting and thought-provoking. He is a quadruple threat with his skill in writing, photography, broadcasting, and editing.”
Otte will be attending Temple University beginning this fall to major in Media Studies and Production at the School of Media and Communication.
Plaques were awarded to students during the Student Keystone Press Awards Luncheon Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The graduating senior was also recognized at the April 3 Red Lion school board meeting.