ORHS Students Awarded Statewide Journalism Honors

The Editorial Team for "Mouth of the River," Oyster River High School's student publication.

The Editorial Team for "Mouth of the River," Oyster River High School's student publication. (Photo Courtesy Maya Grainger)

DURHAM – Principal Rebecca Noe is pleased to share that Oyster River High School student-journalists have received individual awards from the New Hampshire Press Association (NHPA), while the school's quarterly student publication, “Mouth of the River,” was named best in the state.

NHPA hosted its annual workshop and awards luncheon at Keene State College on April 12. The event recognizes journalism programs statewide in categories such as feature writing, news coverage, and overall excellence. This year, the Association also introduced awards for individual student work done within school publications. 

“Mouth of the River” was awarded first place for General Excellence in the High School Division. Judges from the Association noted that the publication included "outstanding work on an array of meaty topics." 

Students Abby Owens, Mia Boyd, Kevin Kell, and James Li were awarded individual honors. 

Owens received first place honors in the Feature Writing category for her story “Walking the Tightrope.” The story is about mental health in high schools, told through several student perspectives based on interviews conducted by Owens. 

"I am honored to have won the General Excellence award and best Feature Writing. The topic I explored, mental health, is important to me and I hope I can help other people by writing about it,” said Owens. “I didn't know anything about journalism until I took Mr. [Shawn] Kelly's class and that's when I realized how much I enjoyed listening to other people's stories and sharing them. In a few months I will be off to New York City, the hub of journalism, and try to get my feet wet. I'm very excited for what's next."

Boyd received first place honors in the News Coverage category for her piece “Hate Speech at Oyster River High School.” In the story, Boyd covers incidents of hate speech within the school district dating back to the beginning of the 2023 academic year. The story incorporates student, faculty, and staff perspectives to discuss the challenges these incidents have created, as well as the preventive steps that have been taken. 

Kell received first place honors in the Sports Coverage category for his commentary on the varsity basketball team’s contest versus Souhegan. As part of the gamecast, Kell was responsible for doing research on the team roster and providing live broadcast commentary. Judges for the Association additionally noted that Kell’s commentary would “be a strong entry even at the college level.”

“I enjoyed working on the gamecast research. I put in a lot of time before the game to learn more about the players and teams,” said Kell. “Producing the commentary was an interesting challenge and it's great to see that hard work pays off."

Li received second place honors in the Best Podcast/Multimedia category for an episode he recorded for the high school’s podcast “Voice of the River.” His episode provides an in-depth analysis of student-made music, dissecting the production, lyrics, and other musical components of various songs. 

"This is the first year NHPA is doing individual honors and I'm proud of having been a part of this milestone,” said Li. 

“Congratulations to all of the students who work on Mouth of the River,” said Noe. “These students work so hard to tell the stories of our community with honesty and integrity. I am so glad they were able to be recognized for their commitment and excellence.”

To view the full list of winners and read additional feedback the students received on their work, visit here.

Holding the honorary plaque are James Li, Abbigail Owens, and Kevin Kell.

From left, Oyster River High School students, senior James Li, senior Abigail Owens, and junior Kevin Kell each received individual NHPA awards, along with Mia Boyd, not pictured.