Smoke Rings staff makes breakthrough

“Here Comes the Breakthrough.”

This was the title of the 2013-14 Smoke Rings yearbook. This theme reflected on the many changes of the past year, including the literal breakthroughs of construction work on the school and the personal breakthroughs of the student body.

The staff itself had many breakthroughs in the year and made bonds with each other.

“There were so many different personalities,” senior and current Editor in Chief Rachel Witt said. “It was amazing to see how we worked together.”

The staff used their close relationships to create a book they were proud of.

“When they were delivered, I started crying,” junior and current Sports Editor Hailey Williams said. “It was my baby.”

On Oct. 27, the Smoke Rings yearbook staff and the Demon Pitchfork newspaper staff travelled to the University of Oklahoma’s campus for the annual OSM (Oklahoma Scholastic Media) Media Monday.

Once arriving on campus, everyone was ushered into a ballroom to hear from the keynote speaker.

“Lori Oglesbee was a phenomenal speaker,” Williams said. “I liked her so much I went to her session over writing revision later in the day.”

Staff members from both publications attended a variety of workshops throughout the day to gain further knowledge about journalism, such as “Taking Control of Your Camera” and “Social Media Marketing.”

While these sessions are important to getting experience, the most exciting part of the day for many of the Smoke Rings staff is the awards ceremony at the end of the day. This is where they find out how well the previous year’s book did in the eye of the OSM judges through individual entries that were picked by the staff.

Williams said she was so nervous her heart was racing when they started calling the awards for Sports Spread category.

“When they didn’t call my name for third or second place, I thought I hadn’t placed at all,” Williams said. “I was completely shocked that I won first place.”

The book as a whole competed for titles of Highest Honors, All-Oklahoman and Sweepstakes.

“A huge accomplishment was receiving Highest Honors and All-Oklahoman, but we were all disappointed when we didn’t win Sweepstakes,” Williams said.

Witt was sad to not receive Sweepstakes, but she decided to use it as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and grow.

“I knew if we didn’t win it would be okay because we came so far,” Witt said. “Now I am determined to improve.”

In order to improve, the staff looks into what they may need to change in the future. One thing that stood out was the need to include everyone and get a broader spectrum of people in the yearbook.

Journalism is in the business of telling stories, and Smoke Rings wants everyone to get to tell theirs.

“I want to get the full 360 of Duncan High School,” Witt said.