The student news site of Willow Springs Middle School


LeopardLife Publication takes second ILPC Star award

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LeopardLife is a student-run publication of Willow Springs Middle School in exemplary-rated Lovejoy ISD, located in Northeast Collin County in Fairview, Allen and Lucas, Texas.  Thirty -one students comprise the staff for the 2016-2017 school year, under the leadership of two student editors in chief, Layla Healey and Carter Satterwhite; Managing Editor, Taylor Crosby and Jackson Willard, and Photo Editors, Carrie Duke and Major Friesland.

LeoaprdLife is both a web news site and printed newspaper/news magazine, printed throughout the academic year in a newsmagazine format and online weekly. The website and 16-page news magazine is distributed free to students and associates of Lovejoy ISD. Editorial content should not be taken as the policy of the administration or school board unless so attributed. Coverage aims to be fair and unbiased pertaining to news and information for Willow Springs Middle School students and staff as well as the communities of Lucas, Allen and Fairview, Texas.  WSMS News is comprised of a multimedia convergent digital media introductory class and advanced media class.

LeopardLife awards from 2008-2017 include several NSPA 1st class with marks of distinction,  ILPC awarded distinguished merit top awards; many first and other placings Individual Awards of Achievement for news writing, feature writing, editorial writing, photography, and layout. The newspaper received the prestigious STAR award from ILPC in 2016, recognizing the paper as one top scholastic publications in Texas and honoring the paper for its dedication to journalism and community service. The publication is nominated for another STAR award this year in 2017.

S. Nicole Nichols-Sanders is the LeopardLife journalism adviser and she may be contacted at  Sanders has advised the publication since 2008 and helped to open the middle school journalism program originally at Sloan Creek Middle School.   Prior to journalistic education, Sanders served and worked in communications and marketing for organizations and as a managing contributing editor and journalist for publications throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Florida and Texas, where she earned Addy awards for copywriting and design and also regional spot news writing and photography awards from the Associated Press.

Sanders holds a bachelor of science degree from the Texas A&M University system and a MEd., in Educational Leadership and Conflict Resolution.  She is certified in the state of Texas as a school principal and also in secondary ELAR and Journalism. Sanders also helped edit the State of Texas Journalism certification exam for educators and serves on the NSPA/JEA judging committee for editorial write-off competitions and in her UIL region for editorial writing. She is a national and state speaker at journalism and educator conferences giving advice on communications and conflict resolution best practices.

For the school year 2017-2018, LeopardLife will feature video news segments led by Barb Smith and WSMS video news.  Smith has a broad background in TV and radio news. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where she majored in English.  For the past 25 years, holding multiple roles at all major networks: Fox (WDAF & KDFW), NBC (KXAS), ABC (WFAA), and CBS (KTVT & WLWT).  In addition, she has been a news anchor, reporter, producer, traffic anchor, assignment editor and a news director; working in small markets like Lawrence, Kansas, medium markets in Cincinnati and Kansas City, and finally back home to the #5 market in Dallas, Texas.

-photo by carrie duke

Layla Healey, born Nov. 12, 2002, is addicted to 2 Cars, a game that is downloadable to a IOS and Android smartphones. She isn’t addicted to it because she’s good at it, but rather because she can’t get past her personal best of one. What makes it even worse, you ask? Her brother, eight, is a pro at it, and she genuinely does not know why. Saying that Layla loves baby animals would be an understatement. According to her, she would adopt any baby animal if it needed a home, regardless of how many she already had. Previously, she owned a baby skunk. And yes, it was cute. As of now though, Healey has three hamsters that look so alike that she named them all Charlie, along with a sinister cat, a fish, and a dog as well. One can regularly spot Layla sleeping, eating, running, watching Netflix, or jamming out in her room to her mix on Spotify that is specifically dedicated to the upbeat and happy music that she dances to, such as High School Musical and other popular artists today such as Shawn Mendes, Meghan Trainor, and Justin Bieber. Layla prefers to wear sweatpants and/or a sweatshirt rather than something else. Girly things are not Layla’s forte. She considers herself to be an amateur in both areas of painting nails and doing hair. She’d much rather just tie her hair in a bun and be done with it. According to her, she has no time for it. Layla loves to read, especially romance, horror, mystery, and sad stories, such as The Fault In Our Stars (a personal favorite of hers). And as usual, with a love for reading comes a love for writing that’s she’s possessed for a very long time. Because of her passion for writing, Layla decided to give Journalism a shot, which resulted in a great year as staff writer that lead up to the amazing position of Editor-in-Chief!

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The student news site of Willow Springs Middle School
LeopardLife Publication takes second ILPC Star award