Smoke Rings staff takes home sweepstakes

The+yearbook+staff+gathers+with+awards+after+Media+Monday+where+last+year%E2%80%99s+yearbook%2C+j%5BOUR%5Dney%2C+received+the+sweeepstakes+award.+Oklahoma+Scholastic+Media%2C+who+hosts+the+event%2C+celebrates+its+100th+anniversary+as+a+state+student+journalism+organization+this+year.

Derrick Miller, Courtesy

The yearbook staff gathers with awards after Media Monday where last year’s yearbook, j[OUR]ney, received the sweeepstakes award. Oklahoma Scholastic Media, who hosts the event, celebrates its 100th anniversary as a state student journalism organization this year.

When smoke rings take a journey, they win statewide competitions.

The Smoke Rings yearbook staff took sweepstakes, the highest possible award, for the 2014-2015 yearbook, “j[OUR]ney,” at the yearly Fall Media Monday journalism conference this week.

While this isn’t the staff’s first year winning the award, as they also took the prize in 2012 and 2013, last year saw Smoke Rings taking home the second-best award, All-Oklahoman, instead.

Many staff members feel great about returning Smoke Rings to its first-place record. One of these is senior Taylor Gonzalez, who is currently one of the editors-in-chief of the book.

“I feel extremely happy,” she said. “I feel really happy in that all our hard work has finally paid off, because we do put in a lot of work to make the book what it is.”

Senior Hailey Williams, another of the book’s current editors, is also very elated about the win.

“I’m really excited. I was worried that we wouldn’t do it,” she said. “I was worried about Bishop McGuiness, and then when our name popped up on the board I was so excited.”

Lisa Snider, the yearbook advisor, feels that last year’s book was one of the best of recent years.

“I told them all year long this was a great book,” she said. “I’d stop in the middle of class and go, ‘guys, this is a really great book.”

Gonzalez feels that some of the reasons for the quality of the yearbook were the well-developed theme of the book and the secondary content, or add-ons to pages besides the main content of the page.

“I think our theme was very well developed. It was really consistent throughout the entire book, which is super important,” she said. “One of the things we tried to concentrate on was adding secondary content. Usually we forget about that, and it’s very important.”

In addition to these merits for last year’s book, Smoke Rings swept the board in the sports section. Senior Alexandra Matthews took first place in sports design, senior Tommy Peercy got the first place award in sports writing and Williams placed first in sports photography. This delighted Williams, last year’s sports editor.

The staff also agreed that the Media Monday experience was more fun than usual. Peercy thought that the experience was educational and enjoyable.

“This year was really, really good,” he said. “I went to some good electives, and I learned a lot.”

Smoke Rings may be looking through the smoke of the past when it comes to last year’s book, but they are hopeful that they can continue their winning record at Media Mondays to come.

Snider is enthusiastic about the future of the yearbook and feels the yearbook has the capability to win sweepstakes down the road.

“Of course, I always have high hopes,” she said. “I have enthusiastic, motivated editors and staff members.”

If history is any judge, that future may come to pass for the high school’s resident rings of smoke.