VHS newspaper, Cooley win journalism awards

When Samuel Cooley became chief editor of Vidalia High School’s newspaper, the Viking Vibe, he said that he wanted to “leave Vidalia High with a product people can be proud of.”

After Nov. 2, it is clear that he has succeeded.

On that date, Viking Publications, members of the school club in charge of the school newspaper and yearbook, decided to attend Northwestern State University’s annual Journalism Day. This event attracts students from all over the state and usually has more than 150 students attend every year.

The event holds several panels for students to ask professional journalists questions about their jobs and it seeks to inform students about the benefits and drawbacks of a career or major in journalism. Competitions are held for Writing Competition, Media Writing Competition, and the Overall Best Newspaper Competition to name a few.

Vidalia High entered two of these competitions, the Sports Writing competition and the Newspaper Competition, competing against schools such as Pineville High School and the Louisiana School of Math, Science, and the Arts. While Neville High School achieved first place among the many newspaper submissions, Vidalia High School’s October newspaper was declared excellent as well as receiving an honorable mention.

Cooley achieved first place in the Sports Writing Competition.

“I was so shocked when they called my name,” Cooley said, “There were so many other schools and students I was sure that someone else would have won.”

Cooley entered an article about the 2017 football season and when asked why he did so, he said, “I have written around 40 articles for my school newspaper but that one has always been my favorite. It was an amazing year for the football team and I was extremely proud of them, and I think that showed in my writing. It is the best article I have ever written, and I was so proud when I saw that it had caused me to win a competition.

“I’m also extremely proud of the other members in the newspaper club. They are a great group of people and I think that with enough practice they will be able to win first place in a year or two. Mrs. Coley and Ms. Rouser have also been a huge help to me and the school wouldn’t have won any of the awards without their help.”

Cooley is a senior at Vidalia High School and will be graduating at the end of this year. He plans on attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and majoring in English.

“I’m going to miss it,” Cooley said, “This will be my second year as chief editor and it will be hard for me to just walk away from the club after all of my hard work, but I think it will still go well. Mrs. Angela Smith reintroduced the club to VHS in 2014 and it was a great newspaper before I was here, and it will be afterwards.

“My goal was to make the Viking Vibe an important part of Vidalia High School and make it something every student and faculty member could be proud of. I’ve achieved that goal, and I have faith that the future members and chief editor of the club can make it even better.”

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