By Kailey Cota, SIPA assistant
Posted December 18, 2019
Lori Oglesbee-Petter, this year’s SIPA Endowment speaker, worked tirelessly as a journalism advisor for 34 years.
“Lori is a gifted teacher and speaker,” Karen Flowers, SIPA Endowment Chair and a former SIPA director, said. “She has taught at conventions and workshops throughout the nation, and she has received numerous awards showcasing her many talents. Among the many awards she received were the Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Award and the National Yearbook Adviser of the Year.”
In 2009, Oglesbee-Petter was named the Journalism Education Association’s Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and since then, has fought fiercely to protect the practice of journalism. When the principal of Prosper High School implemented a program of prior review, she taught her award-winning students how to stand up for themselves and their first amendment rights.
“If Lori bought into something, she gave 150% until it became reality,” Beth Dickey, a former SIPA director, said.
Most recently, Oglesbee-Petter worked at Prosper HS and McKinney HS in Texas, and in past years was the chair of SIPA. In a single year, while working at Prosper, her students won more than 175 awards. However, due to a conflict involving prior review, her contract was not renewed for another year.
Her history with SIPA is extensive. When she was advising in Arkansas, her school required that SIPA held competitions for her staff to be eligible to attend – thus the SIPA Quiz Bowl and the TOP Competition were born. Additionally, when the Endowment Committee decided to run an auction fundraiser, she was the first auctioneer.
“Lori has played a large part in developing some of our most beloved contests and competitions,” Leslie Dennis, SIPA director, said. “As we get closer to the 100th anniversary in 2023-2024, it is wonderful to recognize people who have been instrumental in building a strong foundation for SIPA and have moved it forward over the years.”
Last year, Oglesbee-Petter along with Prosper HS editors Neha Madhira and Haley Stack received the Shoquist Freedom of the Press Award from SIPA.
The position of SIPA Endowment Speaker was created in 2014 to inform SIPA attendees of what exactly the Endowment Committee does. Any SIPA member can nominate someone and members of the Endowment Committee vote on the speaker.
“We decided to choose someone each year to both honor them for contributions they had made to SIPA and because they were excellent speakers,” Flowers said.
She joins previous journalism professionals Brenda Gorsuch, Beth Fitts, Mary Inglis, Bradley Wilson, Mark Murray and David Knight as SIPA Endowment speakers. Oglesbee-Petter will teach sessions at the 2020 SIPA Convention and address the advisers at the Saturday luncheon.