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SCSPA honors oustanding adviser, students at spring conference

By Leslie Dennis, director of scholastic media organizations
Posted April 30, 2018


SCSPA honored outstanding students and advisers at its spring conference Monday, April 23 at the University of South Carolina Russell House.

After acknowledging broadcast, newspaper and online journalists with individual and program awards, SCSPA recognized three individuals who earned the organization’s highest accolades.

Vy Mai of South Poitne HS (Rock Hill) was named the Scholastic Journalist of the Year, awarded annually to the best high school journalist in the state. Mai, the editor-in-chief of South Pointe’s SPINwired online media platform, plans to major in nursing at USC.

Kinsley Thurston of South Pointe HS (Rock Hill) was awarded the $1,000 SCSPA Scholarship, given to an outstanding scholastic journalist who’s been admitted to the USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Thurston will begin her journalism degree at USC in Fall 2018. "As I progress into college and continue my dream of becoming a political marketing and publicity manager," she says, "I hope to be able to develop my communication skills, graphics designing skills, as well as my reporting skills.”

Stella McCombs of Stratford HS (Goose Creek) was named the Reid H. Montgomery Adviser of the Year. The award, established in memory of the former SCSPA director and USC journalism professor, is presented yearly to an adviser who exemplifies a high standard of excellence in service to scholastic journalism. McCombs advises the "Real TV" broadcast program at Stratford HS.

“Each day, Stella teaches me more about teaching, managing a staff, and building relationships with students,” co-adviser and former student Justin Fabiano said. “In some ways, I feel like I’m sometimes her neediest student, as I have several questions each and every day. The patience she has met me with is without precedent. She continues to patiently offer me help, guidance, and advice while still serving the instructional and managerial needs of our staff.”

McCombs was one of four outstanding teachers nominated for the 2018 Reid H. Montgomery Adviser of the Year award. She was joined by Nina Brook of Richland Northeast HS (Columbia), A.J. Chambers of Richland Northeast HS (Columbia) and Kim Cimney of West Florence HS (Florence).

The full spring awards list is posted on the scholastic press website.