Virtual convention provides valuable lessons

In place of the traditional breakout sessions, IHSPA has collected programming featuring free, expert instruction everyone may utilize for in-person or distance learning whenever needed. Click on this image or visit for the material.

By Ada Clark
2019-2020 IHSPA President
Mooresville HS

Welcome to the 98th annual Indiana High School Press Association Fall Convention. On behalf of the student and adviser members of the Executive Board, I thank you for joining us remotely to celebrate scholastic journalism from across Indiana. 

A year ago, we gathered together to celebrate the convention theme “Challenge Accepted.” Our board settled into what we thought would be a typical year – we began to plan the First Amendment symposium, and we felt cutting edge when we held our December 2019 board meeting over Zoom. 

Little did we realize the scope of the challenges students and advisers would face in the upcoming months: a global pandemic, school shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. Life changed so quickly the week of March 10 that fewer than 24 hours before our First Amendment Symposium, we made the tough call to cancel the event

In spite of all the cancellations, one endearing fact out of 2020 is that student media outlets kept going. Yearbooks were completed and delivered. Newspapers moved online, and broadcast teams kept contributing content. Teaching and learning continued, and student media programs became essential in capturing the turning point of a generation.

While it saddens me that we aren’t together in person for the 2020 convention, I am pleased that IHSPA has been able to gather a robust offering of on-demand sessions. We asked some of the best in the business to help, and we are excited that any teacher in any learning situation can use this resource as needed. There are sessions that cover the scope of what IHSPA provides, and advisers should be able to use this playlist in whatever way works for their students. Special thanks to the experts from across the nation who have given their time to share with us through these break-out sessions. I would also like to personally thank our Director Ryan Gunterman and convention chair Roth Lovins for their leadership in putting together this unconventional convention.

We also have a list of extremely deserving award winners. Congrats to our winners of the Hoosier Star, Harvey Awards and 2020 Ella Sengenberger Adviser of the Year

We don’t know what comes next, but we do know that as we quickly move into 2021, IHSPA will remain steadfast in its role as to support students and advisers in creative, new ways.

May you all stay productive, healthy and safe.

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