AWARDS: Sterling Sentinel nominees for the 2017-18 school year

Lydia Haydock is a senior at Snider High School
Kylee Hoot is a senior at Carroll High School
Jerome Lechleitner is a senior at Heritage High School.
Emily Johnson is a senior at Northrop High School.
Ilyssa Haner is from Leo High School

This year marks the 33rd year for the Sterling Sentinel program, which recognizes seniors nominated by their high schools for outstanding work in journalism. Our nominees this year include yearbook editors, along with both print and online student newspaper editors. The recipient of the award, who will be revealed on Friday’s News-Sentinel print page and online at, will receive $3,000 toward a college scholarship. Here are this year’s nominees:

Lydia Haydock — Snider High School

Awards and achievements: Lydia has been a top 10-ranked student from freshman through her junior year. She was named co-editor of the yearbook her junior year, and editor her senior year. She has earned four varsity letters in soccer and was the captain of her soccer team her senior year. She was named to the National Honors Society her junior and senior years. Lydia was directly admitted to the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and also the Krannert Business school at Purdue University and is still pursuing both options.

From her advisor: Demonstrating the qualities of an outstanding journalist is something Lydia Haydock, as editor-in-chief of the Snider yearbook, does daily. Accuracy is paramount in Lydia’s approach to the creation of the yearbook, and she proofreads, edits and makes revisions to assure all editorial content of the yearbook is correctly and accurately recorded. . . . Lydia sets high goals for herself and others, and oversees yearbook creation and production to make sure all goals are met. . . . Everything Lydia does in journalism class — and on occasional weekend yearbook workdays at school — is designed to reflect the activities, interest and voices of Snider students. Lydia does an exemplary job of pursuing and meeting this goal.

Kylee Hoot — Carroll High School

Awards and achievements: Invited to join the National Honor Society her sophomore year. Kylee earned high honors at Carroll all four years. She was named editor-in-chief of the student newspaper her senior year. She played soccer for the Chargers her freshman through junior years and was the captain of the bowling team her senior year. She plans to further her education at Purdue University by pursuing a degree in early childhood education.

From her application: Becoming an educator is something I have wanted to do since I was very young. My teachers in my elementary school loved and taught me so much and that truly inspired me to want to give kids that same thing. Even some of the teachers I didn’t get along with inspired me because it showed me how important it was to have good educators.

Jerome Lechleitner — Heritage High School

Awards and achievements: 4.3554 grade-point average. Ranks 2nd of 135 students in his class. Co-editor-in-chief of Heritage’s student newspaper, The Structure. A member of the National Honors Society junior and senior year. Rising Star of Indiana his junior year. Academic Top Ten all four years. Principal’s List all four years. Salutatorian of his class. Also served as a volunteer on the Bernie Sanders 2016 Indiana Primary Campaign his sophomore year. He hopes to pursue a Media Studies major or a related major in radio broadcasting, television, or film

From his teacher: The following is something that Jerome wrote to me at the end of his sophomore year on an end-of-course survey: “I enjoy that you respect my writing enough to read it and not say, ‘This is one of the better pieces I’ve seen, there must be nothing wrong with it.’ Even if I wrote a good story, you would always find areas for me to improve.” This quote is telling of Jerome’s ability to not only respectfully receive constructive criticism, but to also happily utilize it in an effort to constantly improve. It is a reflection of his work ethic and desire for excellence. He has continued to show this ability to work collaboratively and respectfully throughout all of our time together.

Emily Johnson — Northrop High School

Awards and achievements: High honor roll from Grade 9 through present, designed website for What’, Ball State University Journalism Institute 2017 attendee, Indiana University high school journalism institute 2017 attendee, National Honor Society member her senior year, school newspaper editor-in-chief her senior year, Academic English team captain in ninth grade. Emily plans on continuing her education at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., majoring in public administration with a minor in communications with an emphasis in journalism.

From her teacher: I have watched Miss Johnson beautifully fulfill her role as editor-in-chief of our online school newspaper, What’s Bruin. Her leadership skills shine during our planning and editing stages. Students frequently call on her for help when they are struggling with their own planning and writing. Miss Johnson is knowledgeable in her craft, and she is a skilled writer as well. Her devotion to improving her own writing and editing skills led her to participate in Ball State University’s journalism camp last summer, a time when most high school students would rather be avoiding scholarly pursuits.

Ilyssa Haner — Leo High School

Awards and achievements: High honors recognition all four years while at Leo High School. Ilyssa graduated a semester early with a 3.84 grade-point average. Participated in the 2017 Rotary World Affairs Conference. She was editor-in-chief for Leo’s student newspaper, The Lion’s Tale. Ilyssa participated in Campus Life and the drama department while at Leo. Ilyssa plans on attending Purdue University pursuing a degree in Human and Family Development. She has plans to earn a master’s degree in psychology.

From her advisor: Ilyssa is one of the most honest and mature young ladies I have had the privilege with whom to work. I knew I could always trust her to get the job done and to be forthcoming about the challenges the staff faced. Ilyssa’s integrity shines whenever she is faced with a difficult decision on and off the newspaper staff. I have personally witnessed her choose right over wrong in difficult situations and accept the backlash she has faced from her peers because of that choice. I admire her strength, determination and honesty whenever faced with obstacles or challenges.