All-American — that’s the rating the 2015 Indian Call, the Hays High School yearbook, earned from the National Scholastic Press Association.
“I was really happy with last year’s yearbook, so I sent it to the National Scholastic Press to get a rating, and it came back with the All-American rating,” yearbook adviser Bill Gasper said.
A student publication must place in four of the five areas of distinction and earn 3,700 points to be All-American.
The Indian Call received 4,000 points and placed in four areas of distinction based on the judges’ comments.
Being an award-winning publication is nothing new for Hays High journalism students.
The yearbook and the school’s newspaper, the Guidon, also earned an all-Kansas distinction from the Kansas Scholastic Press Association.
The Guidon has been named all-Kansas for five of the last seven years, and the Indian Call for three of the last four years.
The newspaper also won a Pacemaker award, which Gasper said is the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism, in 2009, and was a finalist in 2011.
Last year’s Indian Call was outstanding because of its experienced staff, graphics and photos, he said.
Yearbooks are judged on theme, coverage, reporting, photography and design.
“We had all-Kansas in all five areas they judge,” he said.
There have been changes in the way the products are put together during Gasper’s 11 years at Hays High, but “good reporting and good writing, good design and good photography hasn’t changed,” Gasper said.
This year’s yearbook class has 15 students, “a good-sized group. It keeps everybody pleasantly busy without overtaxing them,” Gasper said.
With 17 students, the newspaper class is one of Gasper’s largest.
Students interested in journalism usually take 21st century journalism or a photo imagery class as freshmen.
Gasper recruits students from those classes “that I think will be successful.”
Since deadlines are critical, they have to get homework done on time, be consistently good students and care about their work.
They also need to be creative, have writing skills and a good interview technique.
Senior Morgan Klaus was an assistant editor last year and is this year’s editor-in-chief.
While it’s sometimes difficult to be an authority figure to friends and classmates, she likes seeing the work come together, “and I know it’s going to turn out pretty good.”
Standing in front of the class and being a team leader has helped her be more outgoing.
The experience of being on staff last year has helped senior Hailey George.
“I know what to expect, so it doesn’t hit me as fast,” she said.
Following Gasper’s schedule keeps students on time.
“You have to make sure that you hit your deadlines because you have to get your proofs in,” George said.
Besides learning time management skills in the class, it’s interesting knowing her work is part of history.
“Just knowing that last year we did so good on it makes me want to do better,” George said.
Kirsten Prindle, Taylor DeBoer and Chelsey Augustine work as a team.
“We’re friends, and we work together. Some others in class do it, too – bounce ideas off of each other to see what works and what doesn’t,” DeBoer said.
As an assistant editor, DeBoer helped come up with the yearbook’s design and theme.
This year the theme is “roundabout.”
“We’re all branching off in different directions, but we always will come back to Hays High,” DeBoer said.
She expects to use the photo skills she’s learned and loves being able to design things, but isn’t planning on doing it for a career.
“It’s just a really fun class to work with other people and make something unique that other people will be able to look at later on,” she said.