One hundred twenty-five campers and 11 advisers from high schools all over the United States arrived at the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan., to attend the 50th year of the Kansas Journalism Institute from June 23 to June 27.
The schedule for the week included karaoke, an ice cream social, and six hours of class each day to further the young journalists’ skills.
When students registered for KJI, they were required to choose a topic they wanted to learn more about, whether it was photojournalism, newspaper and yearbook design, web design, leadership, or other classes.
Mariah Seifert, a resident of Bonner Springs, Kan., attended KJI and took the photojournalism class taught by Jim McCrossen.
McCrossen is the journalism teacher and adviser at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park. He has recently won the Jackie Engel Award, a prestigious journalism teaching award, for 2013.
"McCrossen was very experienced and knowledgable,” Seifert said. “He gave us a lot of opportunities for hands-on experience.”
KJI had other professionals and teachers like McCrossen teaching the classes provided during the week.
Ryan Gunterman was another one of those teachers. He taught Newspaper and Magazine Design Fundamentals and was also a returning staff member, with this being his sixth year.
Gunterman explained that he looks forward to the opportunity to come back to KJI every year.
"You have a wide variety of staff and students [so] the topics really change," Gunterman said. “It’s a little more flexible than other camps."
As well as providing a variety of classes, KJI provides financial scholarships for those who qualify, which pays for the full price of the camp.
Daniel Mejia, a Bonner Springs resident, received a Hispanic scholarship for the week.
"I was appreciative because $400 is a lot of money and I learned [information] to help my staff at home," Mejia said.
Not only did students learn more about the different aspects of journalism, according to Mejia, students also learned about the college life and living in the dorms.
Students slept and ate breakfast and dinner at Oliver Hall on KU's campus. Many students came to camp already knowing their roommate, whereas others met for the first time on June 23.
"I have never been excited about living in a dorm or sharing a bathroom but it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be," Seifert said. "I am still getting used to it."
As well as living in the dorms, students were required to walk to classes much like an actual college student.
According to many KJI attendees, the walking plus the heat was the only problem of this year’s KJI.
Gunterman agreed, saying the only downfall was the heat. He went on to explain that the ups of KJI were that there was really great people and a lot of faculty collaboration.
Attendees agreed that the week was very beneficial and many personal goals were reached.
The week ended with an awards ceremony and the traditional Rock Chalk chant of journalism graduates.
"I learned things and I had fun," Mejia said. "I experienced the camp and college life. Hopefully this will help me when I go to college."