UHS 2020 yearbook named among nation's best
UHS 2020 yearbook named among nation's best
Posted on 01/04/2021
Cover of yearbook

Kristiana at homeWhen Utica High School students reflect on their unusual 2019-20 school year, they will have the help of a yearbook recognized as one of the best in the nation.

The 2020 Warrior yearbook and its nearly 40-member staff recently earned the highest honors in the 2021 Columbia Scholastic Press Association annual competition, sponsored through Columbia University.

The yearbook, 2.0,  earned a “Gold’ level recognition and the All-Columbia title for meeting the highest standards in three levels evaluated by professional judges: reference, verbal and visual.

“I am incredibly proud of my students, who were determined to publish an amazing book, despite having to work from home without any planning last spring,” Utica High School Yearbook Advisor Stacy Smale said.  “They didn't miss a beat, and really pulled together as a team to create the 2020 Warrior. Even though I know how much extra work went on behind the scenes, it was nice for my students' work to be recognized by such a prestigious organization at Columbia Scholastic Press Association in New York.”

UHS Yearbook editors remembered the challenges of producing a yearbook while the high school was in remote learning after COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan.

“I think the editors did a great job finishing the book; we did a great job communicating with each other and staying up all night to get what we needed,”  Editor-in-Chief Ashley Siluk said.

When the high school building was shut down in mid-March, students had limited time to make sure they had all of the material they needed to remotely complete the yearbook.

The staff made sure all photos were uploaded, and anything of importance that was normally left in the journalism lab was brought home.

“By reminiscing on the fun memories we did have in school, we don’t have to dwell on the things that didn’t happen,” Siluk said.  “The yearbook will showcase our student life and school spirit, so we can have those memories whenever we look back at the yearbook.”

Junior editor Kristina Thorne said she was proud of how the entire staff adjusted quickly with the school closure order from the State of Michigan in March.

“The last weeks leading up to submission are very important and the fact that most of our staff was communicating and being very helpful showed how well we all can come together to reach a common goal,” she said.

The three categories considered by Columbia Press Association judges included:

  •        Reference – the information that makes the book reader-friendly and historically accurate;
  •       Verbal - the element of the book that emphasizes telling the story of the year in a compelling, authentic, journalistic manner.
  •        Visual – The overall design, typography and photography must go hand-in -hand to present a visually attractive story of the year. 

In addition to awarding the highest ratings, judges also commented on the high quality and professionalism of the yearbook.

  •        "Your staff know how to write and they do a great job of it!"
  •       "Wow! Your publication is packed full of information of the school, community, sports, the year and anything else that your staff thought should be in your book. Excellent job. The staff covered everything, and I really felt that I was part of your community. Everyone was represented--such an awesome job!"
  •        "I know that at 'normal' times, it's hard to produce a beautiful publication, but this year was beyond a challenge and you and your staff did it. Every aspect of student life, community, school life and personal life was covered. The fact that time was cut short, but you and your staff were able to come together and produce an outstanding publication. Congratulations! You and your staff should be very proud of your accomplishments!”