CHESTERTON | It was a big day for the Chesterton High School yearbook staff on Oct. 18.
At the Indiana High School Press Association’s annual convention, staff members received not one, not two—but seven first-place Harvey Awards for their work on the 2012-2013 yearbook.
It its first year in division three, placing it with schools of 2000 students or more, CHS swept the major categories, beating out several schools that have been recognized at the national level in recent years.
Winners included senior Sheila Swibes for best overall student life section, seniors Katie Smith and Jessica Ciesielski for best overall album section, senior Paige Vlietstra for best overall organizations section, seniors Natalie Richardson, Paige Vlietstra and Katie Smith for best overall academics section and senior Sydney Sharpe for best overall sports section.
In addition, seniors Angel Knopick and Paige Vlietstra took home top honors for best news photo and best feature story respectively.
“I think we were so successful because we really came together and combined all our great ideas into one,” Ciesielski said.
“The chemistry between the staff was awesome last year,” added 2012-2013 Editor-In-Chief Katie Haggerty, a 2013 graduate.
Swibes echoed the sentiment: “Our staff knew how to work together.”
Earlier this year the staff found out that Jostens, one of the nation’s largest yearbook providers, would be featuring their work in an annual anthology of top yearbook content.
William Caulton, last year’s adviser, said there was a pretty big buzz at Jostens’ regional printing plant back in August as the Chesterton yearbooks were rolling off the presses.
“Before I even had my hands on an actual copy of the book, several people from Jostens had contacted me raving about its quality,” Caulton said.
Caulton said he knew they’d pick up a few top-three finishes at the state level, but he was shocked when the first place finishes started piling up.
“Way back at the start of last year I told the kids they could make one of the best yearbooks in the state if they wanted to,” Caulton said. “I went through the 2011-2012 book with them and judged it the way yearbooks are judged at the state level.
“We’re good, I told them. But we can be great.”
Caulton said after that the staff made goals for the year. He said the student leaders set the bar high and, more importantly, followed through.
“We were committed to making a good yearbook,” Knopick said.
Smith, last year’s associate-editor-in-chief, said that it was “rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off.”
This year’s staff, as well as the newspaper staff, also received recognition at the state convention, as five students won awards for their work in on-site contests. Winners were junior Payton Norlington, first place in infographic design; junior Greg Mochen, second place in sports writing; junior Avery Nunez, second place in yearbook theme development; junior Alyssa Clemento, second place in yearbook design; and senior Alexis Persuhn, second place in student life design.
Also of note: junior Lauren Lecy, editor-in-chief of the newspaper staff, was voted to her second consecutive term as IHSPA student board member.
The current yearbook adviser is John Thanos. The newspaper is advised by John Hayduk.