Joseph Pierce holding his award

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Aberdeen Central High School junior Joseph Pierce has been chosen to attend the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference.


Pierce was the only student selected from South Dakota to attend the annual conference, which takes place June 22-27 in Washington, D.C. Along with an all-expenses-paid trip to the conference, Pierce has won a $1,000 scholarship to the college of his choice.

The conference, sponsored by the Freedom Forum, will include panels with top journalists and visits to the U.S. Capitol and other landmarks in Washington, D.C.


Pierce said he is looking forward to meeting fellow journalists and learning about them at the conference. He said his advisor, CHS teacher Erich Schaffhauser, introduced him to the opportunity of applying for the conference.


“All it required was writing an essay about challenges/experiences that make me a ‘Free Spirit," as well as an essay about my interest in journalism,” he said.


At Central, Pierce is active with CHS Eagle Zone, and he submitted stories he completed for Eagle Zone when applying for the conference. While journalism isn’t his main area of career interest, Pierce said he has considered it as a minor in college.

To learn more about the annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, visit the conference website.

About the Aberdeen Public School District

The Aberdeen Public School District provides a comprehensive educational program to approximately 4,200 students in grades K-12, with a mission of empowering all students to succeed in a changing world. Our students receive the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their potential in a global community through high expectations of academic achievement; diverse educational opportunities; and community involvement in a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at