KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The National Scholastic Press Association announced its winners recently and three students from John Sevier Middle School won national awards.

Their teacher is not only proud of the awards, but the way the students are learning and practicing good journalism.

David Flanary, Journalism Advisor at John Sevier Middle School is proud of his students and happy to see them do good journalism at a young age.

“They did fantastic work on these articles,” he says. “And seeing them honored, that was special. I really think they were deserving based on the work that they did.”

In a field where it can be difficult to garner respect, Flanary says the awards have encouraged the class.

He says, “It’s very inspiring. It lights a fire in some of our student journalists that some of the work that they do can hit the national stage like that.”

Sevier publishes a newspaper, which is rare for a school in this area.

“We are very, very proud of our publication. The kids have a lot of freedom to explore and to talk about topics that interest them, or that they’re concerned about,” he says. “And I think that is sort of the root of why students go on to win national awards like this, is that they really have the freedom to really dig into the topics that matter to them.”

Flanary says the recognition is essential to the program.

“A journalism program at a school generally kind of flies under the radar, especially in-between releases of publications. And so this is the kind of thing that inspires. It inspires people to get involved, for students to want to really be part of the program, and more so, I think it inspires the community and the school to kind of throw some support behind the publication,” Flanary says.

A publication in a field where credibility is earned, not given.