Gerbasich leaves impact on journalism program


Madlynn Morris

Senior Katie Gerbasich clutches the Sweepstakes prize at the high school state journalism conference in October as junior Kara O’Hara and sophomore Kaitlyn Sitton celebrate.

Kaitlyn Sitton, Design Editor

Tears rolled down senior Katie Gerbasich’s face as Kingwood Park was named as the first-place sweepstakes winner at the journalism state competition. She saw all of her hard work from the past four years pay off at that moment. She couldn’t believe they had finally won.

“They paused before first place, and I thought we didn’t place.” Gerbasich said, “Then the lady flashed the award right at me and I ran up on the stage. I don’t really know when the tears started but all of a sudden they were there. I literally fell asleep with the plaque on the bus because I refused to let it out of my hands.”

By senior year, Gerbasich was the yearbook editor-in-chief, a two-sport varsity athlete, and voted by her classmates as one of two Students of Character in the senior class.

English teacher Michelle Gerbasich, who is Katie’s mother, is proud of everything her daughter does. She is happy to be there for her whenever she needs, whether that’s in her classroom at school or at home. 

“I wish I had been here all four years with her but I’m glad at least I got one year with her,” said Michelle, who had previously been at Kingwood High School until the 2022-23 school year.“It’s just nice to see her smiling face in the hallway or you know if she needs something she’ll stop by.” 

As the editor of the yearbook, Gerbasich has left her mark on the staff. She helped them grow and find what they are good at while also growing herself.

I don’t really know when the tears started but all of a sudden they were there. I literally fell asleep with the plaque on the bus because I refused to let it out of my hands.

— Katie Gerbasich, yearbook editor

“I think she just had a really good example of what an editor should be, of being able to teach and do all the aspects of yearbook and it was really important that she was able to do all of them so that she could help other people with them,” journalism adviser Megan Ortiz said.

Being in journalism wasn’t always the plan for Gerbasich. She originally wanted to be in FFA but she was too busy to be a part of it. She was in yearbook in middle school so decided to join the journalism class. This decision changed her life for the better. 

The two-time All-State journalist was part of the Scripp’s Howard Emerging Journalist program at the University of North Texas last summer. The program included a paid internship with the Community Impact newspaper. 

This summer, she is preparing to head to Clemson University, where she will major in sports management.

“It was mainly Mrs. Ortiz, who supported me and made me want to stick with it,” Gerbasich said. “She just kept, you know, pursuing or encouraging me to go out and take more photos.”

As Gerbasich gets ready to leave her high school journalism career behind, she wonders who will fill her shoes. 

“They have a huge void to fill next year,” Ortiz said, “not even just with her presence in the class, but also with all the things she did to help the book.”

Gerbasich won numerous state and national awards for her writing and her photography. She said the key was just showing up and working   

“I would definitely say just stick with it,“ Gerbasich said. “It’s one of those things that the more exposure to taking photos that you have, the better you will be.”