School Journalists Attend FSPA


Kelsey Coffey

Student journalists from Gulf Breeze and other nearby high schools met up at University of West Florida to meet with speaker Kelsey Coffey and discuss about the convention.

Emily Thomas, Opinion Editor

   On Nov. 18, 2021, Gulf Breeze High School’s yearbook, newspaper, ITV and literary magazine teams attended the District 1 Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) convention. This was a preliminary event that provided attending students with information about the following statewide convention in the spring. Students learned about how to prepare for the upcoming competitions and had the opportunity to hear from a local newscaster.

   FSPA is an organization promoting scholastic journalism across the state. It encompasses all communications related groups including school newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, broadcasts and online media.

   “Despite the many obstacles, including venue cancellations, limited fieldtrip restrictions and new management of publications, the District 1 meeting was a resounding success,” explained Kenneth Killam, the District 1 representative and adviser of the GBHS Blue & Gold newspaper. “Also, the key-note speaker connected very well with the students.”

   Every year — besides the past few cancellations for COVID — FSPA has sponsored a large convention for student journalists across the state to attend, spanning several days. For students involved in any of the aforementioned groups, the larger spring convention offers many opportunities to submit works created throughout the year, and hopefully win awards accordingly. For instance, someone involved in ITV may decide to submit a short informational video discussing or drawing attention to an issue the group feels important. A newspaper writer might choose to enter a particular opinion piece they felt strongly about. Additionally, at the spring convention, there will be other competitions to compete in, where students will have to create something on the spot of either the event itself or on a topic given to them.

   Including Santa Rosa County, District 1 is made up by Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington counties. Along with Gulf Breeze High School, Pace and West Flori-da High School attended the District 1 meeting. From West Florida High School, junior Sum-mer Grace Van Sickle was voted upon to be the District 1 student representative for the spring convention.

   As for the guest speaker, District 1 attendees heard from Kelsey Coffey, a multimedia journalist for WEAR-TV, Channel 3 News. Originally from Georgia, Coffey just recently became a broadcaster for WEAR in May of 2021. She explained to everyone that as a child, she had grown up watching all of the local newscasters on TV, and really developed a liking for the news.

   When she reached college though, she questioned whether pursuing a career in media was really the right fit for her or not. However, she explained that being a part of the production of University of Georgia’s “60th Anniversary of Desegregation” documentary reaffirmed her passion for the news. She made sure her audience recognized that the struggles she faced to become a television newscaster were certainly worth it in the end.