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SIPA honors outstanding administrators, alumni and staff

By Justin Brouckaert, scholastic media assistant
Posted March 13, 2017

SIPA honored several of its outstanding administrators, staffers and alumni at the annual SIPA convention held March 3-5, 2017 in Columbia.

Ralph Kitley, a principal at Northwest Guilford High School (Greensboro, North Carolina) received the 2017 Dr. Kay Phillips Administrator of the Year Award.  Kitley, who was hired at Northwest Guilford in 2009, received the award for supporting students and advisers in their professional growth, as well as defending scholastic journalists’ First Amendment rights.

Karie Grace Duncan, a print journalism junior at the University of South Carolina, received the Jacobs-Daughtry Continuing Education Award, presented to a current student in USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Duncan is a SIPA student assistant who designs promotional material, manages social media and oversees the SIPA student officers.

SIPA also issued three Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Awards (DSA), honoring persons who have contributed extraordinary amounts of time, talents and energy to SIPA.

Rich Whalen of Wellington High School (Wellington, Florida) received the first DSA. Whalen, a former broadcast adviser, has been a friend of SIPA for more than 26 years. Though Wellington discontinued its TV production program, Whalen continues to offer his services as a volunteer at every annual convention.

Collyn Taylor, a print journalism senior at the University of South Carolina, also received a DSA. A SIPA student officer during his time at Dutch Fork High School (Irmo, South Carolina), Taylor worked as a SIPA staffer for four years. He served as a valuable assistant to director Leslie Dennis, writing website content, managing the SIPA Endowment Auction and training new assistants to take over his many duties.

Rebecca Piner was the final DSA recipient. Now a marketing assistant for University of South Carolina Athletics, Piner is a former SIPA student officer and a former assistant in the SIPA office, where she coordinated a SIPA Endowment Auction that raised over $4,000 annually for the organization. Piner continues to volunteer to work the auction and regularly attends SIPA endowment committee meetings.

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