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Westfield High Yearbook Earns National Recognition

2010-2011 yearbook staff to receive award from Columbia University affiliate in March.

School:

What’s in the Spotlight? The Guardian

Accomplishment: Volume 11 of Westfield High School’s 400-page yearbook, The Guardian, was recently named a Scholastic Crown Award finalist by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). The Guardian will go on to receive either a Gold or Silver Crown Award during the 88th Annual National CSPA Convention in March. 

Key to Success: The Guardian is one of just 66 high school yearbooks nationwide to be recognized as a Scholastic Crown Award finalist, the highest honor a student publication may receive from the CSPA.  

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association is an international student press association and affiliate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the Ivy League’s only journalism school. The CSPA began awarding Crown Awards in 1983 to high school and collegiate publications. Crown Awards are now also given to outstanding middle school publications.  

The Guardian was among the 1,351 student newspapers, magazines and yearbooks published during the 2010-2011 academic year that were eligible for judging in the 2012 Crown Awards Program. Its selection as a finalist this year marks a milestone for the WHS yearbook program.  

“I am really proud of our accomplishment,”said Anthony Whitten, Westfield’s Yearbook Faculty Adviser. “It is our second consecutive Crown Award from CSPA, which is a first in our program. Last year we received a Silver Crown.” 

The Guardian received its first Crown, a Silver, in 2005.  

Westfield’s The Guardian is one of four Fairfax County high school yearbooks that were recognized by the CSPA this year--’s Odyssey, ’s The Clan and ’s Predator have also been named Scholastic Crown Finalists.  

Whitten, who also teaches journalism courses at Westfield, believes the theme of the 2010-2011 yearbook, “Speak for Yourself,” is what made The Guardian stand out in this year’s Crown Award Program. 

“I think the ‘Speak for Yourself’ book is special because of the stories,” Whitten said. “We made a concerted effort to cover the feelings and emotions at the heart of the student body. Westfield is a pretty diverse place and I think we did a good job of covering that diversity.”  

During her senior year at WHS, Yearbook editor-in-chief Megan McNulty played a key role in bringing the “Speak for Yourself” theme to life. In a concept statement addressed to the Westfield student body, McNulty, now a first-year cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, elaborated on the ideas behind the theme: 

“Speak for Yourself is about breaking free of labels, stereotypes and norms. We interviewed to capture the joy, excitement, anger, frustration, pain and determination inevitably present in every student’s life...Now, each student has more of a connection to this book and can relate to every story.” 

“Speak for Yourself is a testament to students who feel like no one hears them or even cares about who they are,” McNulty continued. “These 400 pages allow them to speak for maybe the first time in their lives. These 400 pages give them a voice.”

In addition to its recent CSPA recognition, Volume 11 of The Guardian has so far won multiple awards for Westfield High. In November The Guardian at the Journalism Education Association (JEA)/National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Fall National High School Journalism Convention. Next year the Virginia High School League will award Westfield the Charles E. Savedge Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholastic Journalism, given to schools that have received five Trophy Class rankings within a seven-year period. The Guardian has also been entered in the NSPA Pacemaker competition, the winners of which will be announced in the spring.

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