Nighthawk News magazine wins prestigious Kennedy award for ‘Drug Crisis’ edition

By on May 17, 2023

First Flight High School publications students pictured together for the 2023 Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Award awards live stream ceremony.

(Dare County Schools)

First Flight High School (FFHS) journalism students received the 2023 Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Award in the high school print category during a live-streamed ceremony held May 3. Eight student reporters were nationally recognized for their contribution to the powerful and thought-provoking edition of Nighthawk News Magazine titled “The Drug Crisis.”

The 32-page edition was published in March 2022 following the death of First Flight High School student Ryker Clark in January from an accidental overdose. Before highlighting the national opioid and fentanyl crisis’ impact in the community, senior editors-in-chief Kayla Hallac, Maren Ingram and Maggie McNinch, reached out to Carolyn Clark, sensitive to the fact that this coverage would take an emotional toll on Carolyn, Ryker’s friends and others in the FFHS community. Not only did Carolyn give her blessing – she welcomed an interview to share her story and Ryker’s.

The end result was a powerful package of articles that got the school and greater Outer Banks community talking about the drug crisis. Hallac, Ingram and McNinch interviewed Carolyn to share Ryker’s story, her grief, and the work she had begun to combat the local drug problem. The editors met with officials from the Town of Kill Devil Hills and the Dare County Sheriff’s Office for a news story on the law enforcement perspective. Sheriff Doug Doughtie proposed the idea of a pill collection drive at the school one morning, allowing FFHS families to anonymously drop off expired medicines. That led to the striking cover image for the magazine, photographed by current senior photo editor, Taylor Newton.

Other Nighthawk News staff members also contributed pieces for the drug edition. Current senior Olivia Sugg provided a question-and-answer interview with local addiction specialist, Jenny Thiessen. Current senior Kira Walters wrote three vignettes about two students and a local adult who had struggled with addiction in the past. Recent graduate Joey Krieg offered an opinion column on the pros and cons of efforts involving drug education in schools, while recent graduate Fiona Finchem penned our staff editorial on ways to improve drug education.

FFHS’ Yearbook and Newspaper Adviser Steve Hanf learned of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Books and Journalism Awards from a former student who currently works for the organization. After sharing the information with fellow journalism teachers in the state and region, Hanf took a closer look at the contest details and submitted “The Drug Crisis” edition. In March, Hanf received a call from an unknown number in the middle of fourth period – and of course let it go to voicemail. Turns out it was Kerry Kennedy personally calling to congratulate Nighthawk News Magazine on being named the winner of the high school journalism category for the 2023 award.

Nighthawk News Magazine will receive a trophy and $500 for the program. Hanf thanked Principal Chuck Lansing for helping students celebrate the accomplishment, as well as for his support in allowing newspaper students to address challenging topics such as drug use.

Nighthawk News Magazine is a student-led publication produced by 24 students in two yearlong newspaper classes. The magazine comes out four times a year in the school and community, with students also informing and entertaining the FFHS and OBX community at and on social media. Adviser Steve Hanf has led the newspaper program since the 2015-16 school year. He worked as a professional sportswriter for 13 years before becoming a teacher in 2010 and still does freelance writing for several local publications.

Read the report on line at


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Sussex Development is soliciting bids to turnkey supply and install FF&E for the new Tulls Creek Elementary School, 125 Campus Drive, Moyock, NC27929. This project is a new ground-up 2-story, Pre-K thru 5th grade school, approximately 118,000 square feet. Bid documents may be obtained through Christopher West Interiors LLC. Request bid documents via email to Pre-Bid RFIs will be accepted via email until Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 5:00PM EST. Pricing proposals are due Wednesday, August 14, 2024 by 5:00PM EST. All bids and inquires to be sent to Certified NC Hub, MBE, WBE, DBE, SBE are highly encouraged to participate. Sussex Development is an EOE and maintains a drug-free workplace.


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