After an unusual year for the 2020-2021 yearbook staff at De La Salle Institute, they were able to achieve first place in a nation-wide competition held by the American Scholastic Press Association critiqued on content presentation, page design, photography, publication structure, and creativity.
The American Scholastic Press Association is a nonprofit organization hosting professional development and conventions for high school journalism. The organization holds an annual, national contest for high school yearbooks, magazines and other publications. Through the organization, the publications receive recognition for their excellence, as well as, gain feedback for future publications. With that, the publication of “The Meteor” received positive feedback, rewarding them first place for capturing their theme of Out of the Blue and Gold for the 2020-2021 academic year. The staff was led by Adviser Ms. Brittany Monaco, English and journalism teacher, who is alumna from the class of 2014 and was once a journalism student at De La Salle. Monaco is assisted tremendously by Ms. Carrie Contreras, Dean of the Language Arts Department and English teacher.
Achieving first place wasn’t easy for the yearbook staff because of how unpredictable the year was. “Last year, we were well into the pandemic; we were hybrid learning. Instead, we completely redesigned our organization of the book into a chronological organization and the staff created many contests, sent many emails, and really went above and beyond to find angles to cover for the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Monaco. For the entire school year, De La Salle was operating on a hybrid schedule, so many students attended school remotely and many events were unable to take place or had to be modified. This affected the organization of the yearbook because of the unforeseen schedule.
Although this publication of “The Meteor” was more difficult to complete, the staff was still able to create a theme that interested many people. “Our theme was Out of the Blue and Gold, and I think that completely represented the idea of the chaos of the pandemic and recreating an inclusive community at our school,” said Monaco. The theme Out of the Blue and Gold was incorporated both in visuals and in text. This allowed the book to be cohesive, even though it was so different than any other previous year’s publication due to the changes in organization and coverage.
Through all of the challenges, the staff was able to complete and submit the yearbook. “I really appreciate everything they all did because it was a lot,” said Contreras. Both Monaco and Contreras were able to feel accomplished after another year of publishing “The Meteor.”
“I think it’s extremely rewarding. It’s also very ironic that I also took yearbook when I was a student here,” said Monaco. Now, during her third year as an Adviser, she and the staff continue to complete another yearbook, “I’m excited that the girls are actually able to go to events, take photos for events, and interview in person following protocol,” said Monaco.
Overall, all the hard work that contributed to the production was well received from the feedback and recognition from the American Scholastic Press Association. Monaco and Contreras were able to assist the students in not only completing an award-winning yearbook but also allowed the students to successfully document a remarkable year for everyone!