COOS BAY — The 2017 Marshfield High School yearbook won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association competition.
It was the first year that Marshfield entered any yearbook into a competition, and the results released in December have been met with excitement but also shock.
“It was fun to tell the students because they work so hard and it’s not like a sport where they get recognition,” said Stephani Howe, yearbook advisor and sophomore English teacher at MHS. “It’s nice to see their hard work pay off.”
Howe first entered the 2017 yearbook as a way to receive feedback. Howe remembered looking at the competition, which promised a thorough review.
Of the feedback MHS received, Howe said part of what made them stand out were the personality profiles.
“Those profiles are when a couple students are chosen and interviews go in-depth into their talents,” Howe said. “They liked how often we did those and how diverse our student population was in that.”
Of the constructive feedback, the yearbook staff was advised to work on their writing skills.
“When I first got this job, I had no experience in yearbook,” Howe said. “The first couple years, no one even told me that we needed to write in AP style. We need to get better at AP style, avoid editorializing, and avoid clichés.”
To win first place in a national competition, Howe said she feels like their work is validated.
“It’s nice to know that I went from not having any experience to learning so much and becoming passionate about this,” she said. “I didn’t know I would enjoy it, but I do. It’s creative and fun having students multiple years in a row and watch them grow.”
As for the upcoming 2018 yearbook, Howe said that the student body can expect a more contemporary design as they move away from the traditional grid and scrapbook-look.
“This will have more white space, be less crowded, and have more features rather than groups of people,” she said.
Not only that, but she is improving the yearbook staff to include an Editor-in-Chief and co-editor, who will be trained throughout the year. Then by the next year, the co-editor will be in charge and have the confidence to lead.
“It’s great having won because it’s showing us we’re on track,” Howe said. “It’s very exciting.”