The Agora honored at MCCPA Press Day

MCCC’s Agora staff members took home a total of 35 awards at the Michigan Community College Press Day awards ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The staff as a whole received first place awards for both General Excellence and Online Publication, and fourteen staff members received awards at the ceremony at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn.

“I’m so very proud of my staff,” Jennifer Niswender, editor-in-chief of The Agora, said. “There is no way I could have done it without all of their hard work and motivation for journalism. I couldn’t have done it without the support of them and our adviser, Dan Shaw.”

Niswender was named Student Journalist of the Year, along with four other awards.

“I am absolutely overjoyed,” Niswender said. “It feels so great that all my hard work finally paid off. It’s a reflection of my work and it feels really good that I got recognized for it.”

Asia Rapai won three first place awards and one third place award at the Press Day awards ceremony.

“I was mainly proud of myself for earning first place with my personal column, because that was a style of writing I was not confident in,” Rapai said. “Doing well in this competition eliminated some of my insecurities. This showed me, like many of the other opportunities the college has provided, that I should continue to challenge myself. The hard work always seems to pay off somehow.”

Rapai also offered her thoughts on the awards won by other staff members.

“Winning 35 awards was amazing, and I’m really proud that our staff could make an impression like that on the judges,” she said. “It was reassuring to see that our hard work really meant something.”

The Michigan Community College Press Association (MCCPA) consists of the newspaper staffs and advisors of 30 community colleges in the state of Michigan.

The Press Day conference consisted of keynote speaker Darlene House, owner of House of Communications, as well as two morning sessions designed to inform student journalists of the latest advances in journalism.

The community colleges were divided into two divisions this year based on student population.

The Agora was in Division II, and competed against schools such as North Central Michigan, Northwestern Michigan, St. Clair County, Alpena, and Muskegon community colleges.

“I think it’s great that we have a chance to see how we relate to other college newspapers,” Rapai said. “Real-world journalism is very competitive, so it’s important that we get a taste of outside competition from other journalism students.”


Complete list of awards won by The Agora:

The Agora Staff:

First Place – General Excellence

First Place – Online Publication

Second Place – Overall Design

Jennifer Niswender:

First Place – Student Journalist of the Year

Third Place – Front Page Design

Third Place – Inside Page Layout

Third Place – Best use of Photos/Graphics

Honorable Mention – Column/Commentary-Serious

Asia Rapai:

First Place – News Story

First Place – In-Depth News Story

First Place – Column/Personal Opinion

Third Place – Sports Feature

Andrew Hoppert:

First Place – Best Use of Photos/Graphics

First Place – Sports Feature Photo

Second Place – Photo Essay

Third Place – Line/Graphic Illustration

Honorable Mention – Informational Illustration

Honorable Mention – Sports Feature

Symone Thomas:

First Place – Photo Essay

Second Place – News Photo

Third Place – Sports Feature Photo

Danny Shaw:

First Place – News Photo

Second Place – News Story

Mary Rose Takacs:

Second Place – In-Depth News Story

Honorable Mention – Best use of Photos/Graphics

Brandy Werner:

Third Place – Personality Profile

Honorable Mention – News Story

Ashley LeTourneau:

Third Place – News Photo

Third Place – Feature Photo


Morgan Hofbauer:

Third Place – Critical Review

Kristin Stepinski:

Third Place – Sports Column

Nicholas Wilson:

Third Place – Editorial Cartoon

Susan Banoski:

Honorable Mention – In-Depth News Story

Marissa Beste:

Honorable Mention – Sports Feature


Resa Waldecker:

Honorable Mention – Column/Personal Opinion