The student news site of Willow Springs Middle School

LeopardLife Publication grabs second ILPC Star Award

December 14, 2016

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.

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 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 and in 2017, recognizing the paper as one top scholastic publications in Texas and honoring the paper for its dedication to journalism and community service.

Nicole Nichols Sanders

Nicole Nichols Sanders is the LeopardLife journalism adviser and communications and technology department head at Willow Springs.  She may be contacted at Nicole_Sanders@lovejoyisd.net.  Sanders has advised the publication since 2008 and opened the middle school journalism program formerly at Sloan Creek Middle School that same year.   Prior to journalistic education, Sanders served and worked in communications and in journalism for publications throughout Missouri with MidRivers Newsmagazine as the contributing editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as a features writer, in Florida as an advertising and marketing director and in Texas, where she worked for the Amarillo Globe-News as a reporter and later editor,  the Dallas Morning News as a stringer. She has earned Associated Press and Addy awards for graphic design, regional and spot news, copywriting, and photography.

Sanders earned a MEd., in Educational Leadership and Conflict Resolution from Abilene Christian University, where she graduated with honors and a 4.0 GPA.  She is certified in the state of Texas as a school principal and also in secondary ELAR and Journalism. She was instrumental in editing the State of Texas Journalism Certification Exam for educators and serves on the NSPA/JEA judging committee for editorial writing and in her UIL region. She is a national and state speaker at journalism and educator conferences on communications and conflict resolution best practices. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the Texas A&M University system in journalism.

Barbara K. Smith

For the school year 2017-2018, LeopardLife will feature video news segments led by Barb Smith, broadcast journalism adviser of 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.

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