That’s a wrap: IHSPA 2018 convention recap

Keynote speaker, and former journalism adviser, Kristina Smekens addresses the crowd during the opening session of the 2018 IHSPA state convention. Smekens focused on those lifelong skills students develop during their time in student media.

By Shelby Mullis
Franklin College

There isn’t a more fitting motto for the Indiana High School Press Association’s 2018 state convention.

“Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Journalism.”

Convention is over, and we’re back in our newsrooms, but the learning never stops. When journalism is involved, there are always lessons to be learned, and this year’s convention was a testament to that.

This year, 279 students from 33 schools made their way to Franklin College for the 96th annual IHSPA fall convention. Established in 1922, the organization’s fall convention remains its oldest tradition, and to this day, it’s a place where students can be heard.

The event included sessions covering a variety of media issues and interests for students and advisers. To kick off the convention, students heard from Kristina Smekens, president of Smekens Education Solutions and former award-winning newspaper adviser at Huntington North High School.

Smekens has spent more than a dozen years supporting K-12 educators with on-site school trainings, regional seminars, and an always growing pool of print, digital, and video resources.

An alumnus of Michigan State University, Smekens taught high school English and journalism in Michigan and Indiana before a series of opportunities allowed her to commit to a career as a full-time literacy consultant.

Using her expertise as a consultant and background in scholastic journalism, Smekens shared a dynamic presentation that captured this year’s theme: Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Journalism.

Southport newspaper adviser Mike Klopfenstein (center) receives the 2018 Ella Sengenberger Adviser of the Year award along side Southport yearbook adviser, and IHSPA president, Sam Hanley, and his wife, Lawrence North newspaper adviser Heather Klopfenstein.

Several schools also celebrated individual and staff accomplishments with the presentation of Harvey and Hoosier Star awards.

Southport High School’s Mike Klopfenstein accepted the 2018 Ella Sengenberger Adviser of the Year award. Klopfenstein was recognized for his significant contributions made to the state’s scholastic journalism. This award honors the memory of Ella Sengenberger, one of the founding members of IHSPA.

Clark Hadley was recognized with the Louis Ingelhart Friend of the Student Press award. This award is given to someone who is not an adviser of any high school publication, but has made an outstanding contribution to scholastic journalism education and to Indiana scholastic journalism in particular. Hadley, the husband of former IHSPA Executive Director Diana Hadley, received the award in honor of his devotion to IHSPA for more than a decade.

Visit for a convention photo slideshow and complete list of this year’s Hoosier Star and Harvey award recipients.

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