The staff of Misericordia University's student newspaper, The Highlander, was awarded two Keystone Press Awards by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association (PNA).
Writers April Dulsky of Dallas Township, Josh Horton of Pittston and Julia Truax of Millville, received a second-place award in the category of On-Going News Coverage for a series of reports on evacuation and student recovery efforts by the Misericordia University campus community following the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.
Misericordia senior Amber Gulla of Plains Township received honorable mention in the category of Public Service/Enterprise Package. Her article, "Where the Green Grass Shouldn't Grow," was published Oct. 20, 2011, and inspired a student campaign that led to improvements to the building that houses the campus commuter lounge.
Dulsky's Sept. 22 article, "Picking Up the Pieces Together," detailed the experiences of students and staff who were personally impacted by the unprecedented flooding in September 2011, including those from the hardest-hit towns of Bloomsburg, Tunkhannock and West Pittston.
Dulsky is a senior majoring in communications and English. She is the web editor for the newspaper. A frequent contributor since her freshman year, Dulsky also won an award for her enterprise news story, "Loophole Lassos Students' Health Care" in 2011.
Horton's submission, "Open Arms for Evacuees," published on Sept. 13, covered the anguish and appreciation of the flood evacuees housed temporarily at the Misericordia University Anderson Sports and Health Center.
"I just happened to be on campus at the time the evacuees were starting to arrive, and I was able to cover the news story as it was happening," he said. "It was a tough article to write. It was so sad - the people were so frightened and worried about what was happening to their homes - yet, at the same time, they were so appreciative of having a place to stay."
Truax authored the article, "Residential Cleanup Trucks On," on Oct. 5, 2011. She reported on recovery efforts by Misericordia students in Myo Beach, a small community along the Susquehanna River in Wyoming County that was decimated by the flooding.
"I went to Myo Beach with a team of Misericordia students organized by Campus Ministry," said Truax, the content editor and senior majoring in communications and psychology. "The people were so appreciative of the volunteer help and told me that they didn't know how they would ever get back into their houses without the help of the Misericordia students."
The Misericordia students will attend the Keystone Press Awards banquet to be held in Hershey in March, along with editor-in-chief Katlin Bunton, a senior communications major specializing in journalism and public relations and print editor Ellen Hoffman, a sophomore communications major, both of Kingston.
The Highlander can be accessed online at www.highlandernews.net.