The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Centurion Staff Cleans Up at the 2018 Keystone Press Awards

Pictured from right to left: Hal Conte, Elijah Pittman, Jocelyn Pappas and Gabby Houck.

The Centurion shone as one of the top community college newspapers in the state at the 2018 Student Keystone Press Awards held recently in Hershey, Pa., nabbing first place honors in categories such as Ongoing News Coverage, Feature Story, and Website, just to name a few.

The Centurion, competing in the community college division, has won more than 90 awards in the contest since 2010.

This year the Centurion secured nine awards in numerous categories. Second-year Bucks journalism student Hal Conte took home first and second place prizes in the Feature Story and General News categories, respectively. Staff member Elijah Pittman brought home his first Keystone award this year, claiming first place in the Sports category.

The staff as a whole also took home first and second place prizes as well as an honorable mention in the Ongoing News Coverage category, with various package stories on the Radical Reverend, Racism, and News Media. And the Centurion’s very own DJ, Nico Cisneros, nabbed second place with her Awesome Mix music columns.

The Centurion also took first place for its website, an award the paper has won for several years in a row. All of the contributing Centurion staff members that won awards this year are: Hal Conte, Jocelyn Pappas, Madison Helsen, Emma Kuliczkowski, Gabby Houck, Tyler Creighton, Brandon Cummings, Mike Vigilante, Elijah Pittman, Nicole Cisneros, and Shannon Harrar.

The complete list of winners can be found here.

The awards signify and recognize excellence in the news reporting and writing field, something that bodes well for Bucks and all of the incredible students involved in making The Centurion a paper for members of the college to be proud of.

It is also a testament to the hard work, passion, and solid reporting and writing of the student staffers.

The Centurion is a student-run newspaper that is funded entirely by advertising revenue and receives no funds from the college.

Editor-in-Chief Shannon Harrar started off as a staff writer for the Centurion and quickly became the paper’s leading woman.

Harrar, 20, a journalism major from Churchville, Pa., became editor-in-chief of The Centurion at the start of the fall 2017 semester. She attended and graduated from Loch Raven High School in Baltimore, Md.

Harrar was also a staff writer for her high school newspaper titled “The Revelation,” where she was first exposed to the paper’s design program and became an editor during her senior year. Now Harrar has returned home where most of her family and friends reside in efforts to further her growth and experiences as editor.

When asked what makes for good news reporting and writing, she responded simply by saying “knowing what people want to hear, not fluffing the facts, and taking them for what they are, making sure to get straight to the point, and engaging readers on a level where it is easy for them to get information about what is going on around campus or around the world.”

Harrar couldn’t take full responsibility for the success of The Centurion without mentioning other key contributors like Hal Conte, who won first place for his Feature Story concerning racial and homophobic outbursts at local public schools.

Harrar referred to Conte as her “right-hand man” and said she wouldn’t be where she is today if it weren’t for his incredible contributions.

Harrar also credited journalism Professor Tony Rogers, the paper’s faculty advisor, saying, “he stays on top of students” in order to get them to produce good articles.

Harrar said the paper’s award-winning website has bolstered the paper’s impressive reputation. It is a crucial aspect to The Centurion’s success.

Harrar was pleased at winning second place in the personality profile category for her article on Bucks professor and poet Ethel Rackin. Harrar said the award mean a great deal to her, explaining how she wasn’t expecting to win because of all the other great writers around the state. Not only that, but how much this means to her family.

This symbolized the perseverance Harrar had displayed her entire life, and her ability to overcome obstacles without ever making excuses. With a smile on her face, Harrar added, “It is a constant reminder of how special this newspaper is. When you immerse yourself in the position, you really get to see the potential in what you can become.”