TRAVERSE CITY — Local high school yearbook students work five days a week from September to May to capture and archive student life over the course of a school year.
It’s an emotional process, Traverse City Central High School yearbook adviser Katelyn Patterson said, but the finished product is worth it. It’s a permanent archive, stored in the public and school libraries and on bookshelves across town.
Traverse City Central yearbook students’ writing, design and photography received top honors this week by the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. The school’s 2013 student yearbook, titled “Depth,” won the Gold award at the MIPA journalism contest against 35 schools entered in Traverse City Central’s division. The award is second only to the Spartan award, which goes to the top book each year.
“It’s probably the most rigorous or well-respected competition in the journalistic field,” Patterson said. “It’s a really big deal.”
The books are scored on a scale of 1,000 points, and “Depth” was 52 points away from the winner. Patterson’s class of 23 students received 36 individual awards in addition to the overall Gold award. The book’s cover also took first place.
“It makes me really proud of our staff. Anyone in the class will tell you it’s not easy. We make a 248-page book. It’s a $45,000 production,” Editor-in-Chief Kaylee Niemi said. “It feels really good to be recognized for what we do.”
The book’s title has a double-meaning to the students who created it. The first is a tribute to the water that shapes much of Traverse City’s culture. The second reflects students’ goal to dig deeper into what defines and unifies Traverse City Central’s students -- all 1,477 of them.
“We tried to take specific areas and people and really go in-depth about their story,” Niemi said. “We tried to be very proactive in coverage.”