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


2024 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 2024. The team consists of 10 students from six different schools across the state. Congratulations to all the recipients and their advisers!

Cole Bailey, Lindbergh High School

Bailey is a high school senior Co-Editor-in-Chief of Flyer’s News Broadcast at Lindbergh High School in Saint Louis. Bailey has served in editorial positions on school publications for two years and also holds an MIJA All-Missourian title and NSPA Superior title for his work in broadcast journalism. In his free time, he pursues photography, servicing vintage cameras and playing the bassoon. Publication is his greatest passion and nothing brings light to his day like getting to work with a team to produce quality video broadcasts.

His adviser Krystle Hoisington shared, “Cole takes pride in his work and puts forth his best efforts in completing assignments and daily tasks. This pride helped earn him the highest ranking a high school student can receive in Broadcast script writing at the Journalism Education Association’s national convention last fall. He also has a positive attitude in the classroom and is encouraging to other students struggling to comprehend elements of what’s required. He is a confident, hard worker and I look forward to continuing to work with him during his senior year. As his talents are endless, I know it’s going to be his best year yet in the class.”

Bethany Goodson, Lindbergh High School

Goodson is in her second year as Co-Editor-in-Chief for Lindbergh High School’s yearbook, a publication that she has been a part of since her sophomore year. She is also the Second Varsity Cheerleading Captain and Missouri Youth and Government Media Director.

Her adviser Carrie Rapp shared, “After her sophomore year as a staff member, Bethany was promoted to Co-Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. This is a role that Bethany fits seamlessly into with her time management and strong ability to communicate, conference with students, provide feedback to peers and complete demanding publications tasks. What is most apparent about Bethany inside and outside the classroom is her willingness to go the extra mile with whatever task is put in front of her. Whenever I look around the room during yearbook class, Bethany is always working hard by either checking in with students, encouraging other editors to support staff members, or collaborating with her co-EIC to create, edit, and perfect the yearbook content which makes the yearbook award-winning. After school, although Bethany is busy with cheer, her AP courses and many extracurricular activities, she is nearly always logged into our online yearbook creation software, creating and editing pages to make the yearbook a product that we can be proud of.”

Sara Hanon, North Kansas City High School

Hanon is a senior at North Kansas City High School and co-EIC of the Purgold yearbook. Her love for journalism started freshman year when she joined a Journalism I class. Since then, she has served on the Purgold Yearbook staff as a staff member for one year and co-editor for two years, as well as managing yearbook’s social media and participating in the NKC Quill and Scroll honor chapter. Outside of journalism, Hanon is active in several school activities. She participates in the Muslim Student Association (MSA), the Women’s Empowerment Club and the Young Progressives Club. She was elected president of MSA this school year and is known at Northtown as a student leader who represents diversity and inclusion.

Her adviser Mary Prichard shared, “This year, Sara returned as a senior editor-in-chief and has worked hard to be a leader in the classroom. Sara attended a local yearbook workshop over the summer to plan this year’s yearbook. She helps plan class activities, runs the daily meeting to start each class period, serves as a resource for the rest of the staff, and works with her co-editors to make editorial decisions. This year has been a wonderful year for me as an adviser, mainly because Sara is so talented at coaching her classmates and working with her co-editors to manage the yearbook staff assignments and deadlines. She actually encourages me to do a better job advising and teaching, just so I can keep up with her skills and abilities.”

Lauren Harmon, Francis Howell North High School

Harmon is a senior at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles. She currently leads the Excalibur Yearbook staff as Editor-in-Chief, responsible for the daily organization and operation of a 22-person staff creating a 320-page yearbook. Lauren is a skilled writer and designer and has earned recognition for her work in those areas at the state and national level. She has also earned recognition for her leadership at the national level, as she earned a top place in NSPA’s editorial leadership category. She’s a leader in the journalism program and outside of it, as she remains a dedicated member of numerous clubs at the school.

Harmon’s adviser Jordyn Kiel shared, “I’ve been so fortunate to work with such incredible students over my years as an adviser and educator, but this year has been different in the best way from the start — Lauren is a big reason why. Lauren is the kind of editor that thinks about things that should be happening before I even do. She excels at looking and planning ahead while making sure her team is afloat in the present. She has built a young staff up to be confident, respectful and growth-driven learners. She challenges them, coaches them and empowers them. She is a skilled critiquer and does so in a way that teaches. Additionally, I think all she has learned in the last three years of the program can be proven easily by the ways she has skillfully visioned and set the foundation for the design of the 2024 Excalibur yearbook. It truly brings me so much joy to teach right alongside her each day as she brings that vision to life.”

Ellie Johnson, Lee’s Summit West High School

Johnson is a senior at Lee’s Summit West High School, and she serves as the Convergence Editor of Titan Scroll, Titan TV and the Sports Broadcasting class. In addition, she is a student representative to the LSR-7 Board of Education, a member of Student Senate and the Co-Chief Board Member of the Titan Ambassador Program. Johnson has four years of experience in journalism classes at Lee’s Summit West and has used her skills to earn a position as a freelance writer for Linked 2 Lee’s Summit, a local publication.

Her adviser Ashlin Owensby shared, “Knowing a news story when she sees one comes naturally for Ellie. She is quick to spot something newsworthy, and is always thinking and observing through a journalistic lens, which gives her an edge over her peers. She understands what journalism is, and what it is not. Among the Titan TV staff, she is a humble teacher who is always willing to take a younger student under her wing to help and encourage. The time she spends outside of the school day proves her dedication and passion.”

Rory Lustberg, Ladue Horton Watkins 

Lustberg is a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, where she began writing for the Panorama her junior year. This year, she is the inaugural Managing Editor in Chief of ID, a student identity-based magazine. Lustberg has interned for the St. Louis Jewish Light Newspaper, as well as Noble People in NYC. She has been recognized on both a regional and national scale, notably placing in the top 10 student journalistic writers in the nation through NSPA. When not writing, Lustberg attends concerts, sings in her high school’s a cappella group and obsessively completes crossword puzzles. She will attend New York University in the fall for journalism.

Lustberg’s adviser Sarah Kirksey shared, “In an environment bursting with students who love journalism and creating content, Rory has always stood unmatched as she thrives to tell the most compelling, essential stories for our community. At the start of her junior year, Rory constantly impressed me with her work, writing beautiful feature stories and in-depth pieces over controversial issues like gender identity. Apart from her professional manner when reporting and covering difficult issues, Rory constantly looks for ways to improve our publication. She took it upon herself to revamp our social media and web presence, becoming our web editor in chief and organizing a schedule for our entire staff to publish their content.”

Chase Pray, Francis Howell North

Pray is currently a senior at Francis Howell North and has been a part of his school’s journalism program since the first day of his freshman year. Before high school, he was in his journalism club at his middle school for three years. There he was one of few middle schoolers to earn a superior award for his work at the National Journalism Conference. During his time in high school, he has held multiple job titles across several different staffs. He was the lead sports copy editor for the entire program his sophomore and junior years while also holding the title of lead copy editor of the yearbook staff the second semester of his junior year. Currently he is the Editor-in-Chief for his program’s website, FHNtoday, and all of its subsites. He oversees all of the content posted on the site from stories, videos, photos, graphics and any other content produced while also overseeing the design of the site.

Pray’s adviser Aaron Manfull said, “Chase can do a little bit of everything. He’s written and designed for the newspaper, he’s been a part of the yearbook staff and helped them overhaul their copy system last year and he’s even worked to learn how to make videos and take photos. Where he’s been shining the most though is with his work on He’s worked to overhaul the design of the site this year and spent a lot of time making sure the staff had a good content calendar and that there were good checks and balances in the system to help make published content as strong as it could be.”

Morgan Stoemer, Lafayette High School

Stoemer is a senior who has served on the Legend staff for two years. She is especially drawn to the process of storytelling and making sure to include the voices of all students. In addition to journalism, she is an avid singer, dancer and actor. She plans to major in digital journalism and communication arts at Marymount Manhattan College in the fall.

Stoemer’s adviser Nancy Smith shared, “She can adapt her style to work with every member of our very diverse (and eclectic) group and can voice her opinions in a respectful way when providing staff members with feedback on their work. She started this school year by setting clear and attainable goals for the staff. She is firm about the tasks that need to be completed, but also a great co-worker and partner to everyone. She is a strong writer, designer and photographer and works to teach new staff members all those skills. For her work, she has won Honorable Mention and Superior awards in the JEA’s National Student Media Contests and She spends hours in the publications room ensuring that every assignment is covered. She has formed strong partnerships with the editors of the other publications to make sure all of the yearbook staff members see the importance of working as a team. And, though she has a lot on her plate, she is always willing to do whatever it takes to ensure each deadline is met and that the work is the quality that our community has come to expect from our yearbook.”

Sonya Sud, Lafayette High School

Sud is a senior who has served on the news staff for three years. She is an avid reader and is also involved in other school groups including HOSA, Bollywood Dance and Culture Club, Link Crew, Key Club and Women in Stem. She plans to go into the medical field with a concentration in women’s reproductive health.

Sud’s adviser Nancy Smith shared, “Sonya oversees the entire news production team. She is responsible for all content decisions and is the last set of eyes on all material published in print or online. This includes all design decisions and final editing of each 32-page magazine as well as all the content for the website and social media. She has implemented several systems to ensure that the staff is including a wide variety of student voices in its coverage. She is also passionate and devoted to ensuring balanced coverage on all subjects covered.”

Mimi Zhou, Ladue Horton Watkins

Zhou has been involved with her school’s newspaper, Panorama, since sophomore year. She first became interested in joining the staff after flipping through a food-themed issue of Panorama in eighth grade. She’s currently an editor-in-chief of Panorama and a literary art magazine, Melodrama. When she’s not making microscopic tweaks on her pages, Zhou loves hiking, playing music, knitting and trying new foods.

Zhou’s adviser Sarah Kirksey shared, “I have had the pleasure of working with Mimi for the past several years, and her artistic ability is unparalleled to any student I have worked with before. Her ability to create stunning, eye-catching infographics that are full of information and student representation is unmatched. She can create beautiful art in a manner of minutes that would take most of us hours or days to replicate. To say she is talented would be like calling Adele a good singer; she is, but what an understatement.”

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