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Student Officer: Sophie Winnick

Sophie Winnick, Wando High School senior, is co-editor-in-chief of the Legend yearbook. After graduation, she hopes to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to study sports management.

Describe the position you hold within your publication. What are your responsibilities? What’s your favorite part of the position? What do you find the most challenging?

We have a staff of 41 hand-picked and talented individuals that are the heart and soul of our publication. As co-editor-in-chief, I’ve had to work with my co-editor and our adviser to come up with a solid theme that we’ll be able to properly execute. We have to work on the cover, the theme development and more than 20 templates we designed for our staff to base their work off of. I have to float around the classroom and work to make everyone feel welcome, especially the new members on staff. The best part about the job is working with individuals on their designs or stress or leadership and seeing the improvement. The staff is like a sponge, and they are so eager and willing to learn and commit to our publication. The hardest part is not feeling like a huge part of the process anymore. In previous years, I've been designing and writing and taking pictures actively, and this year I oversee the production instead.

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on recently that you’re especially proud of. How did it come together? What did you learn from the experience?

Coming up with our theme was a daunting task. We spent a long time throwing out suggestions and ideas and trying to find the right phrase or the right words to convey our message and our story. It was difficult to come up with something we could keep consistent and develop fully, but we finally found something we agreed on, and now we have a lot to show for it. Once we got our solid idea, more ideas poured out, and it really came full circle. I learned that greatness takes time, and to enjoy the process.

How has SIPA helped you improve and evolve as a journalist/editor?

As a freshman who had recently found an interest in journalism, I was very excited to go to SIPA. I wanted to take as much from the experience as I possibly could. I spent my time during my first convention taking extensive notes and discovering I had a passion for photography. In the photography classes, I learned more about the camera, more about the settings, and established a good base for myself to go from. Each year at SIPA, I have taken away something new. My sophomore year, SIPA really helped me develop leadership skills and taught me tips on how to successfully manage people. As a junior, I helped my staff bond through the trip like I had previously as a freshman and sophomore, and we learned what it felt like to win some awards. SIPA brings out the competitive side in all of us, and gives us the tools to be great journalists.

What are your goals as a SIPA student officer?

As a student officer, I would like to see more student interaction. The competition can sometimes have certain schools portrayed in a negative light, and I would like to see people cast all that aside. I want people to meet and make friends with young journalists from all around the southeast and broaden their scope on journalism. I want SIPA to be an environment to learn, grow and thrive in.

What SIPA events have you attended? What are some of your favorite memories from those events?

I have attended the SIPA dance every year and always had fun with that, as schools from all through the southeast participate. The best part of SIPA for me is the competition and awards ceremony. When you win, it's one of the best feelings in the world, and when you lose, you figure out a way to keep your head and up and come back with fresh and stronger material. It's especially humbling when you were confident.

What advice would you give to other student journalists?

I would just say to make sure you enjoy the process as much or more than the finished product. The process is where you make friends that you'll have for life, and where you hone in on your passions and talents to create and innovate. The process is where you learn what it takes to be a leader. Make sure you aren't just hurrying to the end, because high school journalism isn't forever for all of us.

Tell us something personal. What’s your favorite color, song or store? What’s your go-to fun fact?

I am a die-hard Carolina Panthers fan. I know every man on the 53-man roster and spend a lot of time reading articles and statistics. I also am pretty kick-butt at fantasy football.