PAWESEHI awarded NSPA Pacemaker Nomination for the 2014 yearbook

The 2014 Yearbook was designed by a staff of 35 students

Emily Dickson

The 2014 Yearbook was designed by a staff of 35 students

Yearbook. While to many people it may just seem like a simple chronicle of a year at school, it is an adventure, an occupation and even an entire world to those who create it. With the 2014 yearbook, PAWESEHI got put on the map of Scholastic journalism.

On Feb. 2, the yearbook staff was nominated for the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA)’s Pacemaker award for the 46th volume of the Parkway West High school yearbook.

“The Pacemakers have been awarded since 1927,” Kristen Chang, Contest and Critique Coordinator for the National Scholastic Press Association said. “Many consider the Pacemaker the most prestigious award in scholastic journalism. Each year, we receive hundreds of newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, broadcast, and online entries from publications all over the country and even the world.”

Only 59 high schools and colleges in the United States received the award in 2014.

“It makes me really proud,” said current Editor and Chief, junior Maggie Walkoff. “I’m in a program that’s really successful, and it’s great to put on college applications.”

Not just last year’s staff are recognizing PAWESEHI’s achievement.

“The people I have met so far in Yearbook are all amazing people and I think they really deserve this. You can tell that they earned it,” freshman Kimberly Clyne said.

Last year, the Yearbook changed publishing representatives, moving from Jostens to Herff Jones.

“The people at Herff Jones really helped us improve the book,” Walkoff said. “It helped I think when we used the chevron and the other design aspects that were particularly relevant to that year. I really liked the color scheme and the cleanliness of it.”

The PAWESEHI’s yearbook publisher says that there is considerable competition between schools for the award.

“I know Dan from Herff Jones said he’s only worked with one school who has been nominated,” former staff member senior Rachel Ellis said. “He even said a lot of schools that are up for the award are on the East Coast, so West really has something special going for them.”

Not just the yearbook’s switch to Herff Jones was responsible for the nomination. Debra Klevens, the yearbook sponsor and teacher, says that it was due to tremendous student effort.

“They were meticulous with detail,” Klevens said. “They really took the theme and made it flow throughout the book, from cover to cover. I would say that’s the first year we have ever done that. You knew who our students were at the end.”

Besides a seamless theme and chevron accents, the book also included the 2014 Pantone color of the year, “Radiant Orchid,” which the staff added  prior to the color being appointed.

“The theme really helped introduce a new perspective of how we viewed our school,” Ellis said. “It gave everyone a voice, and it was all about ‘Being Known.’ I loved that different people were able to come out of the shadows and define who they were.”

This year, the yearbook staff plans to maintain high standards, following what they did in 2014. In the 2015 book, the PAWESEHI staff is trying to bring out unique viewpoints that are not always seen.

“We are working really hard to keep the same legacy,” Klevens said.  “I am optimistic and hopeful that we will go just as far as last year.”

With less than 50 students on staff, and a whole year of events to cover, the PAWESEHI staff works daily to take photos, conduct interviews and write stories.

“Being on the yearbook staff helped me learn how to embrace my school and show off all of the wonderful people and things about it,” Ellis said. “I’ve done a little bit of everything, from pages to story writing, caption writing and interviewing.”

While Ellis sees the impact of yearbook through a student lens, Chang, an expert in the field, says it is a chance to gain valuable life skills.

“Being on a media staff teaches you real world skills. You’re not just learning how to take a photo or write a lead or design a page. You’re learning how to think critically about the world around you. You’re learning how to listen to people and tell their stories. You’re learning that every story has many sides,” Chang said. “In short, you’re becoming a more informed, well-rounded human being.”