I began stalking Twitter at 2p today. CSPA was announcing yearbook Crown winners.
As usual, they announce in alphabetical order, which is great since the yearbook name is Aerie. What wasn’t great was that they began with college yearbooks first. So… after about 12 minutes of frantically and obsessively refreshing my feed, I saw it:
I lost my voice a few days ago, but I screamed as much as I could. I immediately texted my staff, as well as the 2019 EICs, Rain, Dani & Marian.
The Crown is akin to the Pulitzer Price of high school journalism.
This is the third Crown that the yearbook has won, and it’s now the second in a row; the first was received in 1996. The Gold Crown we won for the 2018 yearbook was in the hybrid category; the Crown we will receive for the 2019 yearbook is in the print category. From what I’m told, print is a much harder Crown to win.
I am so proud of this book and my staff. Coming off of the 2018 book, we knew that we had a lot to prove and live up to. Everyone knew about our 2018 book and all of the scholastic world had seen it or wanted to see it. No one had or has covered a school shooting in their yearbook, so we knew what we had accomplished. We also knew that the national spotlight was on us for 2019.
I made it known throughout the year what this book meant and needed to mean. This was our chance to show how we are healing and moving forward, and also how we’re still broken and hurting.
“It All Depends” was so much more than just the theme for the book. It was the theme for the year. How you felt that day, how much homework you did, if you came to school, if you want to therapy… it all really depended on so many things. The theme copy written in the book was so spot on to what was going on at school. There were so many changes being made – most of them by people outside of our building and outside of the situation. Some changes were welcomed, but most weren’t asked for.
We wanted to break out of our box, and try different design styles and elements. I had a terrible school year last year, and it was really hard to go to work some days. Dealing with trauma and PTSD can be so debilitating. I threw myself into the yearbook, because it was something I could control. I wanted everything to be perfect, to share our continuing story. I wanted to do something different with the design/style, and I wanted this book to be dope.
When we received our critiques and evaluations, I was underwhelmed. I was so proud of the book, and couldn’t understand how it didn’t receive all of the top honors. I began to think that the 2018 praise was really the sympathy vote.
We received All-Florida, as we always have, from FSPA (Florida Scholastic Press Association). We received Superior from SIPA (Southern Interscholastic Press Association); we have always gotten All-Southern, so this was a step down. We received a Gold Medal, as we have the past few years, from CSPA (Columbia Scholastic Press Association). We received First Class from NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association); last year we received All-American, so I was really disappointed with this step down.
I wondered if people didn’t like the book as much as I did. I took it personally, which I knew I shouldn’t do. The staff had worked so hard on this book, under terrible circumstances. I had worked so hard on this book, under equally terrible circumstanced, all while trying to hold my own shit together. I felt like this was commentary on me and my advising skills. At the same time, I knew that those evaluations, while I didn’t like them, were really good and something other schools would be proud to receive. We’re not other schools, and I’m not other advisers.
I know it sounds silly. I’m so competitive, and want everyone outside of MSD to love our yearbook as much as we do. We are a top-tier book, one that it used as a national sample for Walsworth, our publisher. I didn’t want us to be a one-hit wonder.
So, when I saw that we would be receiving a Crown from CSPA for the 2019 book, I felt validated. I was right – our book is dope. We won’t find out if we get a Gold or Silver Crown until the conference in March.
When we won the Crown for the 2018 book, my Walsworth rep Veronika bought me a crown. I wore it throughout the year, as well as when I got the award in March 2019. I plan to wear it on Monday when I see yearbook.
I was also so excited to have a repeat performance, that I bought this shirt from RayGun (https://www.raygunsite.com/). I love their products, and have so many things from them that I’ve lost count.
Since this is the second Crown in a row, I decided to not only get the shirt, but also to name the yearbook room Crown Town.
Side note: After I posted about the shirt on Twitter, I was informed that the shirt is a nod to the KC Royals. I’m a lifelong Yankee fan.