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Verbena yearbook receives Jostens bronze award

By JOYANNA LOVE/Managing Editor

Verbena High School has received a 2021 National Yearbook Program of Excellence bronze award for its yearbook.

Jostens prints about 15,000 yearbooks for schools around the world and selects the top ones for awards each year.

The winning yearbook was produced by students Macey Kelley, Bonnie Walker, Jasmine Jones and Lydia Edwards, all of whom have graduated, as well as Class of 2022 seniors Erica Baker and Bella Galloway. Each student will receive a lapel pin in recognition of the achievement.

Verbena was notified on Sept. 21.

“I didn’t know they did anything like that, then we got that award, so I thought it was pretty awesome,” Galloway said.

“I was really shocked and like proud of us because there was only a few of us on the yearbook staff, and we pulled it together,” Baker said. “It turned out really good.”

Jane Cleckler served as yearbook advisor for the team.

“I was pleasantly surprised because I have been doing yearbook for 10 or 11 years now, and we have never received an award like this,” Cleckler said.

She said Jostens only honors about one third of the yearbooks it prints.

The company looks at how the yearbook includes and engages students and how the team manages the project.

“A year like no other” focused on COVID-19’s impact on the school year was chosen as the theme.

Students work on the yearbook during a class that meets two to three times a week.

“I thought it was really cool because we could work together and make new friends,” Baker said of her time in the class. “I didn’t really know anyone in the class, then by the end of the year we were all super close from working together going to the games and taking pictures and stuff.”

Getting all of the pictures was a challenge at first because of COVID restrictions.

“Even despite that, we were able to get pictures and the pages looked great,” Galloway said

Baker said the school found some ways to make some of the events virtual, such as the pageant, and the team found things to fill in for events that were canceled.

For the fun pages, the team looked at past school yearbooks and brainstormed ideas based on what was new for the school this year.