NORMAN — Yearbooks are much more than small time capsules to the past. For yearbook staff, yearbooks are the main forum in which they develop journalism skills like how to interview, take photos and write compelling leads.
Yearbooks today are full of craftsmanship and professionalism, as reflected by the Norman High yearbook staff, which recently received multiple honors by beating out the best yearbooks in the state.
Norman High School’s Trail Yearbook placed in the top three of Division 1 in the state Nov. 4 at the Oklahoma Scholastic Media’s “Fall Media Monday Conference” at the University of Oklahoma. Heather Howard was named the state Adviser of the Year, and senior Torri Sperry was named the state Writer of the Year.
Torri Sperry has been in yearbook class since her freshman year and is now co-editor in chief. Sperry said her favorite types of stories are those about classes and clubs she isn’t so familiar with.
“I like getting to know about new clubs and what they do. I’m not involved in any other school activity, but yearbook lets me get a taste of all the varying interests and groups at our school,” Sperry said.
Additionally, the Norman High School Trail yearbook staff won 11 first-place awards, which was the most of any school in its division, as well as five third-place awards and five honorable mentions.
Sperry said winning the awards has encouraged new yearbook staff members to get excited about their jobs and realize people take their work seriously.
Richelle Hallows, junior and co-editor in chief, said winning her third-place award for photography only made her want to do better.
“I love taking pictures, so it was really nice to get an award. I really just want to keep taking photos and improve, so next year I can get first place,” Hallows said.
The awards and their recipients are listed below:
· First place:
Alex Cox — copy block
Mason Cullen — cover/first impression; endsheets; and academic spread
Morgan Fehrle — organization story
Isaac Gillett — academic story; academic photo
Torri Sperry — sports story; spread copy
Abigail Wilkins — student life story
Yearbook Staff — packaging and structure
· Third place:
Mason Cullen — graphic element; portrait page or spread
Richelle Hallows — student life photo
Torri Sperry — theme development/copy
Yearbook Staff — caption writing
· Honorable mention:
Mason Cullen — headline design; theme development/design; and organization spread
Richelle Hallows — organization photo
Austin Pruett and Mary Kyncl — ad page or spread
On top of the above awards, the yearbook staff received a gold-medalist critique from Columbia Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University in New York, which is the highest ranking a yearbook can receive.
The staff also was named an All-American yearbook for the first time by the National Scholastic Press Association. This critique came with marks of distinction in every one of the five possible categories, putting it in the top 5 percent of high school yearbooks in the country.
Norman High yearbook will travel to Boston next week to attend the National High School Journalism Convention from Nov. 14-17.
Sperry said the staff hopes to rank in the top 10 yearbooks across the nation and that she believes they have a pretty good shot.
“Making all five marks of distinction, I think we have a good chance,” Sperry said.
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