Yearbook for the Win!

Horizon Honors Yearbook class won the 2014 National Excellence of Yearbook Programs Award for their diligence, persistence, and insistence on excellence.

Natori Cruz, Editor

With over 400,000 schools across the country using Josten’s to make yearbooks, only 100 winners came out on top.  Horizon Honors Secondary yearbook class placed in the top 100 and was awarded Josten’s annual National Excellence of Yearbook Programs Award for their past and current work efforts.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, Brent McCasland, a Josten’s representative, came into class to present the yearbook staff, grades seven through 12, with their prize. “Only one school in Arizona qualified, and you were the ones who got it,” McCasland commented as he pulled out a large purple, gold, and white banner that currently hangs in the Secondary Office and a purple, gold, and white plaque that Yearbook teacher Christi Britt keeps in her room for everyone to see.  “I’m so proud of my staff last year,” she beamed.  “They worked so hard.  If you haven’t ever been in yearbook, you just can’t grasp the time, energy, and effort that goes into making sure we have the best coverage – in quality and quantity.”

Now, this wasn’t just any other contest the yearbook staff could enter and win. The class worked hard every day of the school year to make their 2013-2014 yearbook spectacular. There are three goals every school must reach to be qualified for the award:  meeting deadlines, selling books, and – most importantly – student coverage.  “Many schools hit one out of the three, some hit two out of the three, but you guys got three out of three goals, and you earned it,” said McCasland.  The staff plays an important role in their winning, but without their adviser, not much would be possible. McCasland noted that this was the first time that a first-year adviser has won this award, and since he had worked so closely with Britt, he knew how hard she pushed the students to stay focused and meet every deadline. “I was hard on them.  I’m sure there were days that students dreaded because we always had so much to do.  But in the end, it was worth it – nothing good comes without hard work.  This was a great life lesson for these kiddos.”

So many students played an integral part in the success of last year’s book, and several of them have graduated or chosen to take different electives.  But this didn’t negate their excitement when hearing the news.  Graduates Alicia Steward, Rachel Irons, and Zoe Lockwood were all thrilled with the news, showing their excitement over social media.  Steward said, “I knew we did a great job, but I didn’t expect this!” Lockwood seconded the positivity,“This made my day.  I expect great things from this year’s yearbook, too!”

Even though this is only their first year winning the award for the school, yearbook is setting their goal to qualify for and win the award for years to come.  According to Ryan Deitchman, who was a part of last year’s book and is in his final year at Horizon Honors, “Of course we can win it again. We have a ton of people to get the coverage and meet the deadlines, and because of all the hard work we’ve put in so far, it’s going to be an amazing book.”