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Epic Charter Schools announces Oklahoma Scholastic Media award winners for student journalism program


OKLAHOMA CITY (April 18, 2024) – Epic Charter Schools, Oklahoma’s largest public virtual charter school serving approximately 30,000 students from PreK-12th grade in all 77 counties statewide, today announced that Epic News Network (ENN) and its biannual publication, The Comet, have received highest honors in the Oklahoma Scholastic Media’s (OSM) Critical Service award category for this school year. This award is given to online and print publications that receive the highest points in a holistic review of the publications by a media professional.


Here is a full list of OSM awards won by ENN and The Comet:


  • Highest Honors in the Critical Service contest for online news – Epic News Network.

  • Highest Honors in the Critical Service Contest for print magazines – The Comet.

  • Magazine Page Design – 1st, 2nd and 3rd, Epic Charter Schools.

  • News Story, Education – 1st place, Jensen McKey (Grade 11 of Harrah); 3rd place, Rylee Byers (Grade 10 of Tulsa).

  • Critical Review Music and Theatre – 2nd place, Georgia Arneson (Grade 11 of Bixby) and Chloe Thomas (Grade 11 of Tulsa).

  • Feature Profile – Honorable Mention, Kenzie Click (Grade 9 of Guthrie); 2nd place, Priscilla Rodriguez (Grade 12 of Oklahoma City).

  • Online News Story – 3rd Place, Bella Buckner (Grade 9 of Tulsa).

  • Video Package – 3rd Place, Anisa Sohail (Grade 9 of Tulsa).

  • Feature Student Life – Honorable Mention, Norah Hutchison (Grade 11 of Tulsa).


ENN is Oklahoma’s only statewide student-led journalism program, which teaches students the principles of newsgathering, reporting, writing, editing, photojournalism, audio-visual production and ethics. The award-winning program is in its fifth year and currently serves approximately 300 students statewide. 


ENN students report on and record events in their communities and cover the actions of state leaders and events that shape the cultural and political landscape of Oklahoma. The daily work of producing news stories, photographic essays, podcasts and more is overseen in part by Jeff Raymond, Epic’s student journalism program specialist.


“These awards put our ENN students in direct competition with other student journalists from across the state,” Raymond said. “That’s why these awards are so important because they validate the hard work each of these students commit themselves to every day.”


Epic Superintendent Bart Banfield echoed Raymond when he said that not only is ENN’s student work impressive, but they are setting themselves up for future success.


“One thing we strive for at Epic is to make sure each of our students is future-ready and in demand by the time they graduate high school,” Banfield said. “These outstanding student journalists are gathering real-world skills that will serve them well as they move into adulthood.” 


Epic provides Oklahoma students and families with a modern, tuition-free, online learning experience with one-on-one instruction from an Oklahoma-certified teacher, supplemented by in-person support as needed. Students are empowered to work at their own pace in their environment of choice, select courses based on personal interests and career goals, and tailor class schedules to fit their unique lifestyles.


Visit EpicCharterSchools.org for more information.


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