Eagles Soar at Ohio Scholastic Media Association Conference


Seniors Mia Russo, Caris Lantz, and Zach Gemma celebrate winning All-Ohio accolades at OSMA. Eagle photo by Gianna Cavalier.

Hannah Frederick, Staff Writer

Hundreds of student journalists wait with bated breath as Dr. Candace Perkins Bowen approaches a podium. It is April 19, 2023, and the annual Ohio Scholastic Media Association conference at Kent State University is coming to a close with the presentation of awards.


Students from around the state are recognized for exemplary work in writing, page design, photography, and a myriad of other categories by Dr. Perkins Bowen, the incumbent executive director of OSMA. GlenOak students achieving Superior rankings for their entries include Mia Russo, Rachel Gortney, and Ruby Shaheen.


Mirren Grimason, Dylan Wolfe, Alex Minor, Gianna Cavalier, JJ Lantz, and Aiden Kerr earn the second highest commendation of Excellent. Victoria Cironi, Giana Cavalier, Aiden Kerr, Kendal Edinger, Cory Conrad, Addison Wood, Aubrey McCalla, Zach Gemma, Peyton Teter, Maya Brown, Lexi Mitchell, Alex Minor, Anya Cwiak, Rachel Gortney, Grace Flock, Caris Lantz, Katie Dentler, Ava Motz, Kendal Edinger, Dylan Wolfe, Lucy Howell, Cam’Ron Ajebe, Mia Russo, Ava Motz, and Jayden Taulbee receive Honorable Mentions for their contributions.


Every category is met with thunderous applause and cheering as students from GlenOak and other schools across Ohio celebrate each others’ successes. 


As individual awards wind down, tension fills the room as excited students fall silent. The next phase of awards judges newspapers, magazines, and websites wholly.


Second place awards are presented. The Eagle is not on the list. Students start to grin across tables at one another as they clap politely.


First place awards are next. Spirits fall, and GlenOak students start to wonder as The Eagle, once again, isn’t called. There is only one award left- the most prestigious in the state- and our newspaper has never received it. 


There are two outcomes in that split-second between awards as applause rings out around stunned students. 


They could have been the first edition of The Eagle in years not to place, and for a moment, many believed that failure was on the horizon.




Or, they could have achieved what no one at GlenOak had before. 


Slowly, the dread turns to anticipation.


“I helped write the rubric, and I know all of our flaws so I guess that’s probably why I’m always their harshest critic,” News staff and yearbook adviser Angela Spano said. “My first thought was I forgot to send the newspaper in for judging- I knew we would have won something.”


The slideshow shifts. The words “All-Ohio Newsmagazines” are projected across the screen. This is the highest award in Ohio student journalism, and newspapers given this distinction become eligible to compete for higher accolades at the national level.


The names of three papers appear. The Eagle is the third on the list.


There’s a moment where everyone sits there, disbelieving.


The room erupts into cheers. The staff stands, they hug one another, they smile and laugh and shout.


“I’ll always remember Zach raising the award above his head and screeching like an eagle,” senior Grace Flock said. “It was a really joyful moment.”


A few minutes later, The Eagle receives a first place rating in the website category as well. 


OSMA is more than just the awards- it is a day of meeting with and learning from other student journalists. It is a day of attending workshops and making memories.


“OSMA was a great bonding experience for the seniors, as it gave us time to spend together outside of class,” editor-in-chief Zachary Gemma said. “Winning All-Ohio was a great way to end a tiresome year. It was a rewarding experience for all of us and it showed the hard work we’ve done.”


“This is the first OSMA conference I’ve been to,” Flock said. “Getting to sit in that hall with other student journalists and listen to such brilliant speakers reminded me why I want to go into the field.” 


Attending Ohio Scholastic Media Association conferences each year is vital in the growth and improvement of The Eagle. Student journalists work throughout the year to prepare for OSMA, but the  lessons learned and memories made last far beyond a single day.