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2015 Youth Journalism Contest

Eleven young, aspiring writers and photographers from across Louisiana were judged winners in the 2015 Youth Journalism Contest on August 8, 2015 in Morgan City at the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s annual conference.

Several among the young students, who range in age from 9 to 14 years old, have climbed the ladder after one or more years of entering essays and, or in some cases, photographs. There are three categories, Senior Essay, Junior Essay and Photography.

First-place winners Reese Blakeney, 14, from Leesville, in Senior Essay; James Corley Sanders, 10, from Trout, in Junior Essay; and, Ava Lemoine, 10, from Baton Rouge, in Photography have held places in past YJC judging.

Blakeney, a student at Blue Pine Academy, placed third in the 2014 Junior Essay Division, while Sanders was a winner in the last year’s Junior Essay and pulled a second place in Photography, and Lemoine was 2014’s Photography Division winner after finishing third in 2013 and fourth in 2012.

Sanders also placed third in Photography. Another double winner was Trey Spears, 13, who was second in Junior Essay and fourth in Photography.

All youngsters received cash awards and certificates for their accomplishments. The YJC is sponsored by Louisiana members of Safari Club International,  LOWA and The Advocate.

The complete list of winners, their ages, story/photo title, school and hometown included:



First Place: Reese Blakeney, 14 years old, “The One that Got Away,” Blue Pine Academny, Leesville.

Second Place: Bradford Morrisonon, 14 years old, “Infamous Geocaching,” Christian Scholars at Home, Natchitoches.



First Place: James Corley Sanders, 10 years old, “A New Recipe,” Jena Junior High (Jena), Trout.

Second Place: Trey Spears, 13 years old, “The Last Hunt,” Sacred Heart of Jesus School, Baton Rouge.

Third Place: James “Scooter” Hayes, 11 years old, “Scooter’s First Buck,” Avoyelles Public Charter School, Mansura.

Fourth Place: Laura Purgerson, 9 years old, “My Friend Waffles,” Our Lady of Mercy School, Baton Rouge.



First Place: Ava Lemoine, 10 years old, “Grand Isle Crabs,” St. Aloysius School, Baton Rouge.

Second Place: Robby Ferrante, 15 years old, “Dragonfly,” St. Paul’s School (Covington), Mandeville.

Third Place: James Corley Sanders, 10 years old, “The Bayou,” Jena Junior High (Jena), Trout.

Fourth Place: Trey Spears, 13 years old, “Among the Cypresses,” Sacred Heart of Jesus School, Baton Rouge.

Fifth Place: Julia Bauer, 9 years old, “In the Nest,” St. Aloysius School. Baton Rouge.


2015 Award Winning Photos

2015 JYC Award Winners