June 2, 2008 / News & Notes

Walsworth yearbooks prove themselves in national contests

Written by Idea File Staff

Kansas City, Mo. (June 2, 2008) – Only four high schools were awarded both a 2007 NSPA Pacemaker and a CSPA Gold Crown this year – the top two yearbook honors in the country. Of those schools, three of them were Walsworth customers.

Wings of Arrowhead Christian Academy in Redlands, Calif; Hauberk of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan.; and Lair of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kan., all accomplished the feat, essentially placing the three Walsworth books in elite company among high school yearbooks.

But just how difficult is it to win both prestigious awards in the same year, and how significant is the accomplishment?

According to Marisa Dobson, the contest/critique coordinator for NSPA, the organization uses only three or four judges each year with the Pacemakers, and they apply a very holistic criteria to winners, looking for books that do it all well – coverage, theme, concept, design, photography, writing and editing.

“Theme and concept is often the most difficult for the kids to wrap their head around, because those can be very mature concept to grasp,” said Dobson. “But all three of these books (Wings, Hauberk and Lair) were very good at it, and it’s one of the things that set them apart.”

Edmund Sullivan, the executive director of the CSPA, said the three Walsworth Gold Crown winners from this year, like all the books that traditionally fare well in the national contests, are the over-achievers who stay on the cutting edge creatively.

“These people that enter (the Crown and Pacemaker contests) are really self-starters,” said Sullivan. “They’re the books that each year want to learn how to make a better mouse trap.”

Sullivan said any yearbook that wins a Pacemaker or Crown Award usually puts itself in roughly the top 10% in the country among yearbooks that enter the national contests.

“(The contests) motivate people to excel,” said Sullivan. “It allows these publications to push themselves to go beyond the same old approach.”

According to Dobson, that is exactly what the 2007 Wings, Hauberk and Lair did, which is why they earned the honors they did. But even more impressively, Dobson said, is that each one of those schools has developed a yearbook program that seems to annually put itself in position to win in the national contests.

“(To win) they have to be strong in all areas. That’s difficult to achieve and maintain,” said Dobson. “You have to respect those programs.”

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Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.