Publications Students Show Ambition at J-Day

MIJA celebrates 100 year anniversary with Mizzou’s J-Day

Parker Sethaler

Kylie Brennan and Meghan Lynch

A group of 23 students and two teachers boarded the bus at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday headed straight for Mizzou’s annual J-Day celebration. J-Day is a fun-filled and educational event where students from different Missouri high schools go to the University of Missouri-Columbia, or Mizzou, to attend journalism sessions that interest them. These seminars are taught by experienced professionals and the program offers classes covering a wide range of topics – from editorial leadership, to podcasting, to typography. 

The kick-off event was a speech from keynote speaker Art Holliday, the news director at KSDK, about diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“Journalism should be about telling stories that matter to people from all walks of life,” Holliday said. His speech inspired the thousands of students in Jesse Hall Auditorium and taught them all about the importance of seeing and understanding the world from other points of view. 

It’s just a fun experience for me to get to meet other people with similar interests and learn about how to better yourself for the benefit of your program.

— Anna Simms (11)

The speech Holliday gave made people think and gave them another perspective.

“It’s really interesting to see how everybody else thinks differently,” junior Sydney Davis said. “Now for the future I know that I can be open to other things because I experienced other perspectives.” 

Following the keynote speech, students were allowed to go out on their own and take 3-4 classes that interested them. It was a way to give students some freedom and learn more about the things that they’re passionate about.

“It’s just a fun experience for me to get to meet other people with similar interests and learn about how to better yourself for the benefit of your program,” junior Anna Simms said.

Not only can you participate in sessions, but you can also teach them. J-Day is a place to share and learn about topics that interest you. Liz Hayes, executive producer for LHS broadcasts, got the opportunity to share the skills, tips and tricks that they have learned during their time in broadcast media.

The students’ favorite part of the day, for obvious reasons, was the award ceremony. It’s very beneficial for student journalists to see what other schools are doing and where they can improve their own publications. 

LHS Publications came home more than 30 individual and staff awards in yearbook, magazine, online news, broadcast and onsite competitions.

Davis, who won an All-Missouri award for her incredible work on LHStoday, commented, “It’s nice to know that I’m doing a good job at things or that other people enjoy the things that I do.”

All in all, the 2023 J-Day Conference was a success for us here at Liberty. The students who attended the event are those who feel passionate about the work that they do, and having passion and a drive of your work is what really pulls the team together.

“Coming back having learned a couple takeaways from the sessions they went to is a success because they can bring back ideas for our program,” publications teacher and adviser Jonathan Hall said. 

J-Day Contest Results – LHS Publications

Best of Show

Magazine – Abbie Luker – Newspaper Inside Page Design

Online – Kay Copeland – Editorial/Op-ed

Online – Braden Altrup and Rylee Shipes – Sports Package

Podcast – Loukya Vaka and Ella Quinney – Talk Show

Online – Grayce Page, Emma Carter and Anumitha Vaka – Feature Package

Yearbook – Rhett Cunningham – Overall Theme/Concept

Onsite Contest – Kay Copeland – Opinion Writing 


Online – Sydney Davis and the LHStoday staff – Overall

Yearbook – Liz Hayes and Lilly Fister – Traditional Package (Student Life)

Yearbook – Liz Hayes – Traditional Package (Clubs/Organizations) 

Broadcast – Braden Altrup – Sports News Story 

Yearbook – Rhett Cunningham and the Talon staff – Overall 

Onsite Contest – Lilly Brown – Newswriting 


Broadcast – Liz Hayes, Jayce Haun and Online news staff – Overall – Announcements with Video

Broadcast – Will Bohn and Rachel Church – Human Interest Feature 

Online – Rhett Cunningham, Sydney Davis, Lilly Brown and Anna Simms – Social Media Reporting 

Yearbook – Kaela Romine and Kylie Beard – Traditional Package (Sports)

Photography – Jayce Haun – Academic Photo

Magazine – Megan Geisler – Sports Reporting


Yearbook – Rhett Cunningham – Yearbook Design

Yearbook – Rhett Cunningham and Brooke Ohearn – Portrait/People Package

Photography – Sophie Hegyi – Sports 

Photography – Sydney Davis – Sports Feature/Reaction Photo

Magazine – Elaine Thimyan and Kay Copeland – In-depth Feature

Magazine – Kay Copeland, Gavin Block and staff – Overall 

Magazine – Gavin Block – News Feature

Honorable Mention 

Yearbook – Ella Pinz – Traditional Package (Academic)

Photography – Sydney Davis – Student Life/Organization

Magazine – Gavin Block and Elaine Thimyan – Newsmagazine Cover Page Design

Broadcast – Braden Altrup – Sports Feature Story

Onsite Contest – Alix Queen – Photography

All-State Journalism Honors

Kay Copeland

Honor Roll 

Monica Reyes, Kaylin Schwandner