The staff of The Lion’s Tale, Lake Nona High School’s yearbook, received recognition at the state and national level for their 2018-19 yearbook from the Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA), National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). The 2018-19 Lion’s Tale marked the 10th anniversary of LNHS and the first time the yearbook had been submitted for critique.
The FSPA is made up of advisors from across the state and critiques over 10,000 books from all over Florida. A panel of three experienced educators/journalists review all publications and establish an overall rank of All-Florida, Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Merit. The panel also selects Sunshine Standouts from among the All-Florida winners. After the holistic scoring, the publication is sent to another evaluator, who provides in-depth written comments and specific feedback in six areas:
- Coverage, Content, and Reporting
- Writing and Editing
- Layout and Design
- Photography and Visuals
- Essentials (Reader Service, Law and Ethics, Leadership)
The Lion’s Tale yearbook received Gold in all six of the categories.
At the national level, the NSPA gave the 2019 yearbook First Class Honors for their critique. The NSPA reviews books from around the country, and books are judged in several categories, including coverage, writing, and design. The composite score from all sections awards an honor rating ranging from Third Class to All American. The All American rating is the highest rating given in the critique service.
The highest honors came from the prestigious Columbia University, with the book receiving Gold and All Honors awards in two out of three categories: All Honors for Visual (photos and design) and All Honors for Verbal (implementation of the book’s theme and body copy).
The 2019 editor-in-chief, Madelyn Murphy (Class of 2019), is most proud of the recognition from the CSPA.
“I was so shocked at first, but then, I was really excited and proud to finally see that all our hard work paid off and was being recognized at such a high level. Throughout my three years in Yearbook with [our advisor], Mason, we always looked at other books with high recognitions and were inspired to try and create something like that, so it just feels really good to see that I was able to make my – and the whole team’s – goal a reality.”
Co-editor-in-chief Kiera Gajo (Class of 2019) added, “I was definitely shocked at first to hear it all; I almost couldn’t believe it. Like getting Mason’s text that we got Gold (CSPA) and all the recognition was so surreal. I think it was more [of] a satisfying/gratifying feeling. I bet Maddie can say the same because we really gave everything; we gave everything we had into making that book. Early mornings on Saturdays and late nights for football games and theater performances. We also started so early with developing the theme, and I remember how we worked so hard just because we absolutely loved doing this kind of thing. We just loved yearbooks and loved writing about people’s lives. Seeing that recognized really makes everything just more worth it.”
The 2020 yearbook staff was hoping to make the trip to Manhattan again this spring for a second year in a row to have their 2020 work critiqued at CSPA, but plans were scrapped due to the pandemic.
The 2019-20 editor-in chief, Jordan McIntire (Class of 2020), had this to say: “I was really looking forward to going back to New York with Mason and bringing some of the new staffers with us to experience the CSPA’s 96th Annual Spring Convention. I learned so much from the classes I took the previous year [at CSPA] that helped me be a better leader and help the staff and continue creating quality work for this year’s edition of The Lion’s Tale. I wanted the staffers for the upcoming school year to have that opportunity as well. We worked late nights and poured lots of love into creating this year’s book, and I was sad that COVID-19 cancelled the convention and prevented us from attending. Despite that, I can’t wait to hear the feedback from the CSPA, NSPA, and FSPA critiques just as our previous book was critiqued. We all worked so hard, and I can’t wait for it to be seen by the esteemed judges.”
The Lion’s Tale yearbook staff should receive feedback in September.