Neve Jacobson, Park Maitland middle schooler, gets her face painted by Sarena Wilkerson. On Thursday, April 13, student journalists sported their best outfits while completing convention contests. (photo by Kailey Calvo)
Neve Jacobson, Park Maitland middle schooler, gets her face painted by Sarena Wilkerson. On Thursday, April 13, student journalists sported their best outfits while completing convention contests.

photo by Kailey Calvo

Styles align

When it comes to fashion, the stars are the limit at the FSPA 2023 convention. Whether following a theme or striking out in style, over 1,400 student journalists and their outfits shone bright. Sticking with the 2023 theme “Stars Align,” the student representatives designed multiple pieces of FSPA merchandise to sport during the duration of the convention. The theme has been a long time in the making, as the board decided on it in December of 2022. 

“We chose the theme ‘Stars Align’ because we as individual journalists shine independently, but at FSPA we join together just as the stars align in a constellation,” Addison Gear said. 

In addition to the usual tote bags, stickers and t-shirts, the student board recently added bucket hats to the mix, as the accessory has grown wildly popular in recent years. Among convention attendees, the hat has been a hit. 

“The bucket hat is heat, and I think the ‘Stars Align’ logo is cool too,” junior Kameron Padgett said. “I feel like it’s really representative of journalists in Florida.”

While many students sport FSPA gear, some high schools arrived at the event in their own matching t-shirts, many of which they designed themselves. Eighth grader Alena Ratel sported a green, jersey-style T-shirt she designed herself. Not knowing what to expect as a first-timer at FSPA, matching with her teammate was a comfort. 

“It’s my first time at FSPA so I’m nervous. We wanted to match with our whole club so that we wouldn’t lose each other at the convention,” Ratel said.

 Senior Lexi Critchett matched shirts with students from Dreyfoos School of the Arts, sporting a lavender shirt with a publication logo that a former staff member designed. According to Critchett, the design was such a hit with the staff that they decided to use it a second time for the 2023 convention. 

“We wanted to come and show our unity,” Critchett said. “We really are such a family that we all wanted to show how connected we are through our shirts and the pride that we take in our news magazine. It was a fun way for us to bond and have fun together.”

Not every student stuck to a uniform, and many popular fashion trends like flared jeans and Dr. Martin boots were seen. Junior Arabella Dias from Westshore High School arrived at the convention wearing a crochet crop top that she bought at Hollister. While crocheting was originally common among small businesses, it was recently popularized through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

“I’ve been seeing a lot more people wearing crochet lately, even someone from my group is wearing it today,” Alena Ratel said. “I can’t personally crochet but I know people that do, and I admire the creativity that goes into it. 

Along with many other students, Senior Kylie Leshard from Johnny Ferguson High School attended the convention in a pair of baggy cargo pants. 

“I really enjoy cargo pants as a trend,” Leshard said. “They are really cute and can be a staple in any outfit.” 

Three students even arrived in full costume to show team spirit. A student from Oviedo High School dressed as a lion, their school mascot, while two others wore an astronaut suit and an inflatable t-rex costume. 

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