McLean High School
Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association recognizes excellence in student media with scholastic journalism’s preeminent award, the Pacemaker. Pacemakers are awarded in each category of publication — online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine and broadcast.
Teams of media professionals judge entries based on the following criteria: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.
NSPA contacted Meghan Percival, adviser of 2015 Yearbook Pacemaker winner The Clan, for a Q&A. The Clan is the yearbook of McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. The Clan won a Pacemaker in the 289 – 336 pages category.
See the full list of 2015 Yearbook Pacemaker winners here.
NSPA: Tell us a little bit about the editors and staff of your Pacemaker-winning publication.
Meghan Percival, adviser: We had an enthusiastic group of four editors-in-chief leading our 55 person staff. All four editors-in-chief had been on staff for four years.
NSPA: How did the staff ensure the quality of the publication?
MP: The staff worked well together and communicated throughout the year. The editors worked with the team leaders to make sure each spread was consistent and tied into the theme of the book.
NSPA: Is there any one issue, story or package that stood out during the year?
MP: Our thematic design element was a flow chart and this form of storytelling challenged us to communicate in a new way. It also provided an avenue for including people and stories that might not normally appear in our book.
NSPA: Tell us about a hardship or obstacle you felt your staff overcame:
MP: We missed over two weeks of school because of snow but we still managed to get the content we needed and make our deadlines.
NSPA: What qualities will you remember most about this Pacemaker-winning staff?
MP: The group mentality — people were willing to help one another to get everything done. The staff knew how to have fun but also get work done.
NSPA: What does the Pacemaker mean to you and your staff?
MP: We celebrate the completion of each spread, each deadline made, delivery day and the positive feedback we get from our school community. But when judges recognize your book with a Pacemaker it takes the celebration to a whole other level.