The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


2023 Missouri All-State Journalism Team

10 young journalists earn MIJA’s highest individual honor

MIJA is proud to announce and congratulate its All-State Journalism Team for 2023. The team consists of 10 students from six different schools across the state. Here is a bit about them from their submissions. Congratulations to all the recipients and their advisers!

Senior Avery Oppermann, Kirkwood High School

Oppermann is a staff member of the KHS yearbook, Pioneer, and has advanced from staffer to editor to Editor-in-Chief. Oppermann’s adviser Mitch Eden shared: “Avery continually goes above and beyond and typically exceeds my expectations. A true leader leads regardless of title, and Avery fits this description. Avery has also earned the respect of the Kirkwood High School faculty and staff by demonstrating the same characteristics that make her a fine editor. Teachers say she is respectful, intelligent, and caring. She is the perfect ambassador for the KHS journalism program.”

Senior Caroline Steidley, Kirkwood High School

Steidley serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the KHS The Kirkwood Call print, online and social media platforms. Steidley’s adviser Mitch Eden shared: “The first words that come to mind when I attempt to describe Caroline are that she is genuine, determined, and talented. As her journalism adviser, I have been able to witness first-hand the development of a very fine student and leader. She is openly joyful about learning and awed by the privileges and riches available to her.”

Junior Mac Huffman, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Huffman has been a member of the Ladue newspaper staff since their sophomore year. Huffman’s adviser Sarah Kirksey shared: “Mac joined the newspaper staff their sophomore year, and editors and veteran staffers were quick to notice their talents. Mac was soon scooped up by our In-Depth team, our most intense section in terms of reporting and design, where they did not disappoint. Mac taught themselves how to create stunning infographics and then proceeded to teach senior staffers. By second semester, they were known as a powerhouse in the room, winning state and national recognition for their work. Apart from the quality of their work, Mac also decided they wanted to learn everything. They picked up a camera and started learning how to shoot. They checked out an iPad and started drawing. Nothing that we did in the publications lab was off limits to Mac. It has gotten to the point where if I don’t know how to do something, I send students to Mac because chances are, they do.”

Senior Olivia Hu, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Hu has been involved in Ladue’s journalism program since her sophomore year and currently serves as Design Editor-in-Chief of the program’s newsmagazine and Editor-in-Chief of their literary magazine. Hu’s adviser Sarah Kirksey shared: “Apart from her undeniable design talent, Olivia is also a strong reporter and writer and her guidance this year has led to our staff covering a multitude of important issues. Olivia is always a strong voice for those who are underrepresented, and her thoughts on controversial topics often mirror my own when I think of potential consequences or concerns administration or parents may have. Olivia is often a step ahead of me with her problem solving skills, which makes my job as an adviser much more simple.”

Senior Juli Mejia, Lafayette High School

Mejia joined the LHS journalism program during her freshman year and now serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Lancer Feed website and the Image newsmagazine. Mejia’s adviser Nancy Smith shared: “Though the staff is the smallest it has been in years, our 10 students produce as much content as they have with more than double that. Why? Because Juli leads by example. She takes on the most challenging news stories, but, can also write amazing human interest pieces. Our school district has been at the center of much controversy this year. Juli has covered each item along with the professional media. In fact, the Post-Dispatch has quoted her stories and linked to her website posts. Pressing school board members on issues is tough for any reporter, especially a high school student. Juli has never let up—demanding accountability from elected representatives.”

Senior Sam Brusven, Liberty High School

Brusven has been involved in the LHS journalism program for three years, serving as a reporter for the KLHS broadcasting staff and a photographer for both the newspaper and yearbook programs. Brusven’s adviser Jamie Munoz shared: “Sam was not only a student on one staff, but worked through three staffs motivating each team to produce some excellent photography and video production. He put great effort and hard work into everything he did and was someone all staff members relied on when they needed a hand.”

Senior Kay Copeland, Liberty High School

Copeland has been involved in LHS’s publications program for three years and serves as Editor-in-Chief for their school magazine. Copeland’s adviser Jonathan Hall shared: “In my 16 years as a publications adviser, I don’t think I’ve had an editor-in-chief so dedicated to the school magazine as Kay Copeland has been this year. As a first-year EIC, Kay has gone way past my expectations. I can say that as an adviser, I’ve been more hands-off with the magazine this year than any other year in my career. Our staff has just nine members, but they are such a tight-knit staff that has really bonded together. I can thank leaders like Kay for that.”

Senior Micah Truelove-Herrick, Lindbergh High School

Truelove-Herrick has been involved in LHS’s journalism for four years and holds the position of co-Editor-in-Chief of the Broadcast Sport Marketing class. Truelove-Herrick’s adviser Krystle Hoisington shared: “Micah has also been instrumental in the launch and success of the new Green and Gold Show this school year. Micah organizes, schedules, creates videos, and line produces each of the monthly sportscasts. He often spends hours of his personal time outside of our designated class time working to make the show the best it can be each cycle. Without Micah’s efforts, these shows sometimes wouldn’t happen. When we had a snow day on the day we were supposed to produce the show, Micah produced the show on his own time at home. This is the caliber of student Micah is and it conveys his dedication, perseverance, and self-motivation.”

Senior Elowyn Wells, Lindbergh High School

Wells serves as the newsmagazine Editor-in-Chief for LHS’s Pilot. Wells’ adviser Krystle Hoisington shared: “Elowyn takes pride in her work and puts forth her best effort in completing assignments and daily tasks. She meets one-on-one with her staff every issue to ensure their success and offers them advice, guidance, and solutions when they feel they have hit roadblocks in their stories. She also has a positive attitude in the classroom and is encouraging to other students struggling to comprehend elements of what’s required. She is a confident, hard worker.”

Junior Sawyer Bess, Oakville High School

Bess has been on the OHS broadcast staff for two years. This year, he served as a line producer, helping to produce the monthly Channel 97 News broadcasts in addition to filming his own stories. Bess’ adviser Christina Manolis shared: “When absences and conflicts have impacted other students from finishing their stories on time, instead of removing them entirely from the broadcast, Sawyer has always stepped in to help finish them, or in a few cases, do the whole story on his own over the weekend. He is willing to stay after school or come in early to finish anything in order for our program to run smoothly. It is because of him that we have hit all of our deadlines this year, and I can honestly say that I would not know what we would have done without him.”

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