Yearbook wins NSPA Pacemaker Award

Yearbook wins NSPA Pacemaker Award

The 2009-2010 Downey High School yearbook staff won the Yearbook Pacemaker Award for their publication Atypical. Out of 380 schools that entered, Downey shared the top prize with 27 others in the nation that received the National Scholastic Press Association’s top honor. “Earning the Pacemaker was such an accomplishment,” previous staff member Laura Nevarez said, “We worked really hard to produce a publication that we were proud of.”

Roy Mendoza, Co-Editor-in-Chief/Copy Editor

After being crowned finalists in the NSPA Pacemaker contest, the 09-10’ Volsung yearbook staff officially received the award at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention.

Since 1927, the National Scholastics Press Association has been holding a nationwide competition for student-operated publications. For many, the award is regarded as one of the highest honors that can be given for journalism. After a year of hard work and determination, the Atypical staff was notified of their nomination for the Pacemaker in late February.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of a staff that can potentially win a high title in school journalism,” former writer Isabel Cardenas said. “It’s also great because all the hard work the whole ‘Atypical’ staff put into the book can be shown across the whole country.”

Once the chance arose, the news spread like wildfire to every available staff member.  With the word out, members were left with mixed emotions upon hearing the news, ranging from an awestruck excitement to a moment of speechless clatter.

“When Victor called to tell me we won a pacemaker, I was literally speechless, and I still am,” former Editor-in-Chief Tiare King said. “Its just amazing and I really can’t believe we actually did it.”

When the date came around, the staff members that attended the journalism convention seemed to have a touch of nervousness in their bodies while patiently awaiting the results. Sure enough, Downey’s Atypical yearbook was called out and the two leaders, Victor Kowalski and King, went up to accept the award.

“Hearing our name being called literally made me jaw drop,” King said. “It was an unbelievable experience and we’re all so lucky to have even been a part of the ceremony, let alone be Pacemaker winners!”

From a total of 51 high schools that were selected as finalist, only 23 were able to pass through as the most superior Pacemaker publications. Seeing that the prior yearbook did such an outstanding job, only higher hopes could be set for the upcoming 10-11’ yearbook.