The Round Rock High School yearbook staff has been named the recipient of the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Pacemaker Award, the top honor for high school publications in the United States. The yearbook staff traveled to Seattle in early April to attend the NSPA national journalism convention.
On April 8, NSPA named the 2016 Dragon as a Pacemaker winner, making it one of the top nine yearbooks of its size in the country. There is a category for each type of publication — online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine and broadcast. Entries are judged by teams of professionals based on the following criteria: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.
“Winning a national award at this level honors all the things that my kids do day in and day out,” said Sharon Kubicek, Round Rock yearbook adviser. “They haul themselves to club meetings and stand in the rain on the sidelines of soccer games. They roll out of bed early to talk to people and tell the stories of our students. It’s really gratifying that their efforts have been noticed and honored.”
The 2016 yearbook was different from previous years in that it had three themes: Chance, Seen and Heard. Yearbook staff wanted to every student to be highlighted, including students in the “spotlight” (sports, theatre, etc.) and students behind the scenes. They also organized the book in a non-traditional fashion by covering all of the sport teams week-by-week versus covering the whole season on one or two pages.
“We chose to do a week-by-week coverage of sports, following the corresponding student life coverage week,” said Faye Mckerlie, 2016 co-editor in chief. “This allowed us to track a team’s progress throughout the season and cover some of the smaller teams. We were able to up our coverage of all sports and the players which brought us closer to our goal of covering every student three times.”
In addition to the Pacemaker Award, the yearbook won fifth place in the Best in Show competition.
“The yearbook staff is proud to represent Round Rock High School and the District,” Kubicek said. “While no yearbook is perfect, I know that each year we get just a little bit better.”