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The Northern High School yearbook office is covered in Burger King crowns.

It’s not so much to show the group’s penchant for fast food, but to celebrate the publication’s Crown Award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, putting it in the top 3 percent of yearbooks in the country.

Yearbook teacher Adrienne Forgette explained that the class falls under advanced journalism and is taken by 43 sophomores, juniors and seniors. In addition to compiling the school’s yearbook, Forgette said the students also learn InDesign, Photoshop, Associated Press writing style and photo composition.

“We follow the classic journalism style to a T,” Forgette said.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association is an organization owned by Columbia University designed to bring together student editors and faculty advisers who produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media, said the association’s website, which said it was formed in 1925.

She said the winning publication was for the 2011-2012 yearbook and they learned of the award in December.

Forgette said the group will attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s annual yearbook conference March 23 at Columbia University in New York, where they will find out if they received a gold or silver award.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll get a silver because it’s our first crown,” she said, continuing that the group will also travel to Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., over the summer for yearbook camp.

The book was also chosen by its publishing company, Balfour Publishing, to be a national sample book, meaning it will be used as a model book to schools all over the country.

The theme for the award-winning yearbook was “You See Me,” and to display that theme, the students chose to make some of the pages mostly black and white with certain details in color to give them an extra pop.

“Our coverage, thematically, worked really well,” Forgette said.

Current editor-in-chief and last year’s sports editor Alexa Leininger, 18, said her favorite page from last year’s book was of a student throwing his books up in the air as he’s standing against a white wall. The photo, taken by class of 2012 photographer Kelly Pietroproli, captures the books mid-air.

“We put a lot of hard work into it and we really stepped out of the boundaries of things we’ve done in the past,” Leininger, who is a senior, said.

The editor-in-chief for last year’s winning book was Keely Mullens, who also graduated in June 2012. Leininger said she has been happy to fill her shoes.

“I feel like, as editor, I get to show the staff a type of passion that they might not have yet. Basically, I try to lead by example,” Leininger said.

Copy editor Maddie Buckley, 16, said her love of journalism and writing drew her to the yearbook class.

“I’ve met so many new people and so many awesome people. I love it,” the junior said. Buckley said she is able to utilize her writing skills for the yearbook by writing a new story to go with the main topic of every page spread.

However, Buckley said they are trying to make the yearbook more reader friendly this year by breaking up more of the paragraphs in the news stories and adding more Question and Answer features.

Buckley said while she knew her fellow students enjoyed reading the yearbook, she wasn’t sure if they recognized everything behind its compilation.

“They like it, but I’m not sure they appreciate it as much as they would if they knew the level of work we put into it compared to other schools,” she said, continuing that this made the Crown Award even sweeter.

“I was very, very excited,” she said.



ldukes@somdnews.com