The Tucumcari High yearbook staff decided to take a gamble on changing the layout and postponing the arrival to the fall for the 2011 yearbook.
“Our biggest concern was that our fellow classmates were going to hate the new look,” said senior Dominic Lopez.
Senior Isabel Herrera said the old layout was plain and had no life or feeling. She said the staff wanted to make the yearbook something special.
“Our first thoughts were, ‘Nobody likes change,’” Herrera said. “If we messed this up (yearbook) we would never live it down.”
Herrera said the students were upset about the later delivery date, but overall they took to the new look well. The approval of their peers fueled a desire to i enter the yearbook into two national scholastic journalism competitions.
The staff entered the yearbook into the Quill and Scroll contest from the University of Iowa, Iowa and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association content from the University of Columbia, N.Y.
The results are in, and five staffers won individual honors from the Quill and Scroll contest. Lopez won awards for sports photos and advertising, Nikole Roark for feature photos, Justin Garcia for advertising, Joseph Abeyta for academic photos and Lorri Harman for graphics and design. Abeyta and Harman are 2011 THS graduates.
“The students worked so hard for these awards,” said yearbook teacher Victoria Stuchel. “They poured their blood and sweat into this yearbook and are now enjoying the rewards.”
The yearbook earned a Silver Medalist award from the CSPA contest. The book was reviewed and critiqued by the journalism staff at Columbia.
“I thought they were going to rip us apart,” Herrera said. “Here we are, little old Tucumcari, entering this national contest.”
Herrera said she and her fellow yearbook classmates were shocked when they received the silver placing.
“They told us where our strengths were and our weaknesses,” Herrera said. “That was awesome now we know what we got right and what needs to be improved.”
The staff’s success in the contest has the returning and new students looking to improve on the next yearbook.
“It’s a lot to live up to,” said senior staffer Sonam Bhakta. “It’s nice to have a bar set for you. It’s going to be tough, but we still want to make the yearbook better.”
Senior Anna Maestas said the class is much busier then she originally thought. She said the amount of work and time put into the yearbook has surprised her.
“It’s a mess; we are constantly busy,” Maestas said. “It always looks like more fun than work from the outside.”
Maestas said her passion for photography and duties as the photo editor has paid off. She recently received a $12,000 talent scholarship from Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
Stuchel said the students are also eligible to apply for scholarships as a result of entering the two contests. She said the scholarships are for those who choose to continue their education in journalism.