Shield Online earns Scroggins Award as Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s top website

Macjournalism earns 72 individual awards in SIPA’s annual contests for excellence in writing and overall visuals


Bella Russo

Bella Russo’s photo of the 2020 LBJ Fire Academy propane exercise was one of 17 Macjournalism Best of Show winners in the 2021 SIPA Visual Contest.

Every year the Southern Interscholastic Press Association presents its highest honor, the Scroggins Award (Best of South), to one school in each of five publication categories: broadcast program, print newspaper, online newspaper, literary magazine and yearbook.

We are pleased to share that MacJournalism has for the first time in its history won SIPA’s top honor. SIPA announced on March 7 at its annual high school journalism convention that The Shield Online was the top online newspaper among SIPA member schools.

The Scroggins Awards are given to honor the memory of longtime SIPA director Albert T. Scroggins. Dr. Scroggins was Dean of the College of Journalism at the University of South Carolina for 20 years and retired as Dean Emeritus of the college in 1985. At that time, he received the state’s highest honor, the Order of the Palmetto.

To be eligible for a Scroggins Award, a publication must first receive an All-Southern rating, the highest evaluation rating in a SIPA critique. The Shield Online, The Shield print newspaper and the 2020 Knight yearbook all received All-Southern ratings and therefore were eligible for consideration for this year’s Scroggins Awards.

Congratulations to Shield Online co-editors in chief Lucy Marco and Grace Nugent on leading our online publication to this historic recognition, and thank you to every staff member who stepped up when asked to contribute to a website post.

Congrats also to the other 2021 Scroggins Award winners: RNE-TV (broadcast), Richland Northeast High School, Columbia, S.C.; The Lantern (literary magazine), Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, Va.; The Odyssey (newsprint), Clarke Central High School, Athens, Ga.; Legend (yearbook), Wando High School, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. and The Round-Up (middle school yearbook), Woodland Junior High School, Fayetteville, Ark.

We also have some good news to share from SIPA’s announcement of winners in its writing and visual contests. All of the McCallum winners are included below. It’s the first year for Macjournalism to compete in the visual contest.

SIPA Visual Contest Winners

Best in Show (First Place)

Academic photo, Bella Russo, The Knight

Even though the blaze towered high above them, the fire fighters in training tackled the drill with focus and stuck to their rehearsed plan of attack. Professional protective equipment, or “fire turn out” as the students call it, worked to keep the students safe and supplied with clean air.  “The gear does a good job of insulating you, so I barely felt the heat at all even when I was in the front,” Thomas Lucey said. Even though leading the hose seemed to be the most daunting task, Lucey was able to advance towards the fire with confidence. “Being in the front was definitely the best part because you get to be so close to the fire.”

Academic yearbook spread, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

Editorial cartoon, Anna McClellan, The Shield 

Abbott has also made restrictions on mail-in ballots tighter, forcing many voters to brave the polls and a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Unless a voter has an illness, is overseas, is in jail (but still allowed to vote) or is over the age of 65, they must vote in person and risk exposure to the virus. (Anna McClellan)

News photo, Bela Tapperson, The Shield Online

MAY — PROTESTORS ADVOCATE JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD, MIKE RAMOS: A woman is forced over a wall as state troopers force protesters off of the Capitol grounds. Hundreds of protesters met at the Austin Police Department headquarters downtown on the afternoon of May 30 to demand justice for African-American victims of police brutality. The protests filled the streets surrounding the Police Department headquarters and at times blocked traffic on I-35, and eventually protests spread to Austin City Hall and the Texas Capitol. Some protesters were met with pepper spray and rubber bullets as APD officers tried to control the crowd and clear the highway. This protest comes as part of a national spread of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer. Austin protesters are also calling for justice for Mike Ramos, an Austinite who reportedly was unarmed and shot by the police in late April. (Bela Tapperson.)

Newsmagazine headline package, Alice Scott, The Shield

Newsmagazine news package, Olivia Capochiano, The Shield

Newsmagazine portfolio, Samantha Powers, The Shield

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Newsmagazine table of contents, Javier Vela, The Shield

Online computer graphics, Anna McClellan, The Shield Online

Online digital storytelling,  Josie Bradsby & Alice Scott with contributors, The Shield Online

Online opinion package, Alice Scott, Sophie Leung-Lieu, Poppy Grimsley-Ridenour, Grace Vitale, Shea Wiedenmeyer, Naomi Di-Capua & Mary Ellen Sanders, The Shield Online

Online photo gallery, Bella Russo, The Shield Online

Online sports package, Alice Scott, The Shield Online

Podcast, Theo Roe & Javier Vela, The Shield Online

Profile yearbook spread, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

Social media package, Kennedy Weatherby, Macjournalism


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Strip cartoon, Kai Kirkham Macias, The Shield

Award of Merit (Second Place)

Broadcast human interest coverage , Alice Scott, The Shield Online

Broadcast sports coverage, Alice Scott and Makenzie Mason, The Shield Online

Newsmagazine entertainment package, Alice Scott, The Shield

Newsmagazine news package, Grace Nugent, The Shield

Newsmagazine portfolio, Alice Scott, The Shield

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Newsmagazine sports package, Kennedy Weatherby, The Shield

Online features package, Lily Prather, Kate Boyle, Ellen Fox & Elisha Scott, The Shield Online

Online news package, Samantha Powers, The Shield Online

Online opinion package, Samantha Powers, The Shield Online

Photography portfolio, Bella Russo, The Shield

On a day when hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Austin during the second day of demonstrations against police brutality in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos, a solitary protester holds a sign with a simple message seemingly directed at the Texas Capitol and the government that convenes there. Photo by Bella Russo.
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Podcast, Theo Roe, Alysa Spiro and Evelyn Griffin, The Shield Online

Sports reaction photo, Grace Nugent, The Shield

PANTHERS POUNCE ON VISITING KNIGHTS: Junior safety Jake Hissey celebrates a fumble recovery inside the Knights 20-yard line after Liberty Hill’s fourth down attempt. While the Panther offense put 278 rushing yards on the Mac defense the unit held Liberty Hill to one fourth-down conversion in five attempts. “We made some sloppy mistakes,” Hissey said, “but they are a really good team with a good offensive scheme. Gave us a lot to learn.” Photo by Grace Nugent.

Sports yearbook spread, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

Strip cartoon, Kai Kirkham Macias, The Shield

Student life photo, Alice Scott, The Shield Online

ANGELS AMONG US: When Alice Scott started her rainy morning she believed the snowy forecast was too good to be true. “I was really skeptical that it was actually going to snow. I saw the forecast and really hoped it would, but i just didn’t think it was likely.” Since the forecast called for 2 p.m. snow, Scott and her mom scheduled a morning curbside grocery order at HEB. “It was really cold and rainy that morning but hadn’t started snowing when we went to pick it up,” Scott said. Just before she and her mom left for HEB, her dad went for a run. After the rain turned to hail, and the hail turned to snow, Scott was surprised and elated. They hopped in the car, picked up her father, and drove home. “I told my sister it was snowing, and she screamed ‘WHAT?’ and ran outside. We had a little snowball fight and she jumped on our trampoline while it was covered in snow. Then she wanted to make a snow angel and that’s when I took that picture. … She was just really excited by the whole thing. After a while we got cold and went inside and I made hot chocolate.¨ A very happy end to an eventful quarantine snow day. Photo by Alice Scott.

Yearbook portfolio, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

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Honorable Mention (Third Place)

Academic photo, Olivia Escalante, The Knight

Instead of working with clay in the classroom, students such as sophomore Camille Wilson picked up clay at the beginning of the year to do their projects from home. “I love the idea of ceramics and have a lot of fun creating different pieces, but I think it would all be a lot more successful if we were able to work in school,” Wilson said. Photo by Olivia Escalante. (Olivia Escalante)

Art portfolio, Anna McClellan, The Shield/The Shield Online

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Club yearbook spread, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

First-year photography student, Anna Garcia, The Shield Online

I’ve heard the words “I’m bored” or ” I have nothing to do” more times than I can count from my little siblings. I do love them a lot but it is driving me crazy. After bothering everyone in the house and annoying them they lay down in the living room suffering from a bad case of boredom. Photo by Anna Garcia.

Infographic, Alice Scott, The Shield Online

The seven Republicans and one Democrat who represent the city of Austin in Congress were evenly split on objecting to the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Alice Scott)

Newsmagazine cover, Ellen Fox, The Shield

Newsmagazine in-depth cover story package, Samantha Powers, The Shield

Newsmagazine portfolio, Madelynn Niles, The Shield

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Newsmagazine sports package, Samantha Powers, The Shield

Online news package, Ellen Fox & Grace Nugent, The Shield Online

Online photo gallery, Olivia Allen, Thea Cahoon, Sophia Dawson, Olive Embry, Anna Nagle, Charlie Partheymuller, Lauren Potts, Lydia Reedy, Liliana Rodriguez, Ella Rosenblatt, Amelie Ruggero, Jonah Scott, Angus Sewell McCann, Regan Sims, Camille Wilson, & Annabel Winter, The Shield Online

Podcast, Theo Roe, Anna McClellan & Grace Nugent, The Shield Online

Profile yearbook spread, Hannah Zuniga, Kaya Stone, Kennedy Weatherby, Carter Eason, Raleigh Savage & Anna Schlett, The Knight

Sports action photo, Kennedy Weatherby, The Shield

SOARING HIGHER THAN THE HIGHLANDERS: Senior captain Rob Wade shields a St. Andrew’s defender with his body to create space for a left-handed shot attempt during the Knights’ 59-51 home victory over the Highlanders on Friday night. Wade led the Knights to victory with 22 points. The Highlanders brought their A game, but the Knights answered with the same high level of play. The home team went into halftime up by one, 26-25. In the second half, the Knights picked up speed and pulled ahead for an eight-point final margin of victory. “We fought well through adversity. St. Andrews never went away or quit and we did a good job of answering them both defensively and offensively.” Wade said. “We’re just going to continue to work hard and make each other better.” Photo by Kennedy Weatherby.

SIPA Writing Contest Winners

First Place 

Feature cutline, Bella Russo, Macjournalism


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News cutline, Madelynn Niles, Macjournalism


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People copy, Ella Irwin, The Knight

Review, Madelynn Niles, The Shield

Sports copy, Carly Johnson, The Knight

Student life copy, Hannah Zuniga, The Knight

Second Place

Feature cutline, Daniela Morrow, The Shield

News story, Kate Boyle, The Shield

Sports cutline, Anna McClellan and Javier Vela, Macjournalism


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Staff editorial, Ellen Fox, The Shield

Student life copy, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

Theme copy, Mira MacLaurin, The Knight

YEARBOOK Theme MMacLaurin DW Page 01
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Third Place

Academic copy, Hannah Zuniga, The Knight

Editorial column, Alex Dowd, The Shield

Feature cutline, Samantha Powers, The Shield

Groups copy, Lindsey Plotkin, The Knight

News cutline, Bella Russo, Macjournalism


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News feature, Alice Scott, The Shield

People copy, Madelynn Niles, The Knight

Personality profile, Evie Barnard and Sofia Ramon, The Shield

Review, Olivia Capochiano, The Shield

Sports cutline, Thomas Melina Raab, Macjournalism


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Sports feature, Olivia Capochiano, The Shield

Sports story, Tomas Marrero, The Shield

Honorable Mention

Feature story, Angus Sewell McCann, The Shield