Yearbook Editor Preslee Quisenberry now has a new title, State Editorial Writing Champion. Preslee placed first in Editorial Writing, fourth in News Writing and took home the third place State team title to end her UIL career.
She is the only student so far to place at the State Meet under the direction of UIL Journalism Coach Debi Petty.
“Earning a state championship in my last ever high school extra-curricular was so rewarding, and I honestly cannot think of a better way to end high school,” Preslee said. “All day Mrs. Petty was telling me that being top 12 in the state was good enough, but Mrs. Petty and I both really, really wanted to win. I’m so thankful for everything that she has taught me, and none of it would have been possible without her guidance.”
Preslee has had a goal of placing at the Region Meet, let alone the State Meet, since freshman year.
“I felt so accomplished whenever I found out that I had placed at Region,” Preslee said. “It has been something I always wanted to achieve and to do so my last year was rewarding. I was honestly shocked that I did so well at the State Meet.”
Preslee competed in two events, News and Editorial Writing, and placed at every level of competition.
“For some reason I like news writing better because all the facts are on that sheet and all I have to do is write a story about it,” Preslee said. “However, sometimes I like editorial writing better, especially if the topic is something that I feel very passionate about. So all-in-all, I just like to write, and I was glad Mrs. Petty placed me in those two events.”
Mrs. Petty has been teaching for 19 years, coaching journalism for 17 of those years. She has had state qualifiers before, but this is the first time for her to have a state champion and placer.
“Teaching students as driven as Preslee is why I chose to be a teacher,” Mrs. Petty said. “Most students do not put in the amount of practice time that Preslee did for this sort of competition. She worked every day after the Region Meet to prepare for State. She is so deserving of every recognition.”
Preslee was able to bring two other Journalism team members to State, senior Alissa Stehle and sophomore Maddie Mata.
“I was so excited to even go with Preslee,” Stehle said. “It was all fun and games at first, but whenever we found out the results, it made me grateful to have been with her through this accomplishment. It was an opportunity to make memories and support her on this great high school achievement.”
Between competing, the group was able to celebrate this accomplishment with food and exploring Austin.
“The company was definitely the best part about Austin,” Preslee said. “Mrs. Petty, Alissa, Maddie and myself all had so much fun together, and I know that when I look back at high school times like those are the ones that I will remember the most.”
Advancing and placing at state has been a goal of the Journalism team for quite some time.
“Every year at regionals the entire journalism team talked about going to state, and I knew senior year that I wanted to make it happen,” Preslee said. “My Dad told me before I left for regionals that, ‘you just gotta have one good day’ in order to advance, and I am so thankful that I had two good days!”
Devine Journalism likes to keep it old school by using paper and pencil to write as opposed to a computer and printer.
“Out of the 48 people in the room, I was one of the only two that hand wrote my entire paper,” Preslee said. “Both of my competitions were also back-to-back, so by the time I was done writing an hour and a half later, my hand was shaking. I really think that handwriting my paper set me apart from the other papers in the room.”
Before Preslee left for State, she had packed a dress and told Mrs. Pettty it was for the awards ceremony, just in case she placed.
“I thought that I wrote a great editorial paper, but I wouldn’t let myself get excited because even if I thought it was great I knew that the judges might not,” Preslee said. “When Mrs. Petty came back from verification she told me, ‘You’re going to need that dress’ and I instantly freaked out. Then she came back from news and told me the same thing, and I could not believe it.”
During the awards ceremony on May 3 at UT Austin, Preslee learned that she was State Champion for Editorial Writing, as well as placing in News Writing and as a team.
“Going into high school I always wanted to win a state championship, but I never thought that it would be in a journalism competition,” Preslee said. “I’m so thankful that it did, winning state was the best way to end my senior year.”
Preslee’s results are as follows:
1st place Editorial Writing
4th place News Writing
2nd Runner Up Team
2nd place News Writing
3rd place Editorial Writing
1st place News Writing
2nd place Editorial Writing
By Abby Kohlleppel