Four Pony Express staff members earn SIPA recognition

Ella McAlister, Leady Copy Editor/Asst. Editor

Four members of The Pony Express staff were recognized this week by the Southern Interscholastic Press Association for their outstanding work in journalism.

“I was really surprised,” said Jose Esquivel, a senior who has been taking pictures for the newspaper for two years. “This was so unexpected.”

Esquivel won an Award of Merit in SIPA’s Environmental Portrait category for his photo of Lily Moore, a senior featured in a Mustang Profile in the January-February edition of The Pony Express.

Others recognized in SIPA’s Best Visual and Best Writing contests announced March 9 are:

– Senior Lacey Buckley, who earned an Honorable Mention for her Editorial Cartoon entitled “Mental Health During Quarantine.”

– Junior Brandon Mayse, who received Honorable Mention in the Front Page category for his cover design of the December 2020 edition of The Pony Express.

– Senior Sarah Claire Miller, first-place winner in the Online Alternative Storytelling category for her project “Dear Corona,” which featured letters from the Class of 2020 whose senior year was interrupted by the pandemic.

According to, SIPA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes scholastic journalism and mass communications in the Southeast. Founded at Washington and Lee University in 1926, SIPA has operated from the University of South Carolina since 1972.

The Pony Express students competed against high school journalists from the District of Columbia and 15 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

“We routinely enter contests in the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, but this is the first time we have had our students win journalism awards at a higher level,” said Ginny Shikle, who co-advises the newspaper club with Michelle Jones. “This speaks highly of our students and our print journalism program.”

Check out the winning entries as well as more school coverage by The Pony Express staff at