Effort, aspirations lead to long-awaited Crown Award for 2017-18 yearbook


Round-Up yearbook design editor Libby Hurt, editor-in-chief Megan McGahey and managing editor Lauren McCord led the 2017-18 staff in creating the nationally acclaimed yearbook, titled, ‘Much More Than’. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association announced Round-Up is a Crown Finalist for the first time in the program’s history. Photo courtesy Sallyanne Harris.

Shravya Mahesh, Staff Writer

To the average student, a yearbook is a collection of memories, photos that evoke a burst of emotion. To a yearbook staff member, it is that and a mark of hard work, effort and time dedicated to memorializing those fleeting moments.


For the 2017-18 Coppell High School Round-Up yearbook staff, it is additionally a mark of pride, for they are Coppell High School’s first ever CSPA Crown finalists for yearbook..


The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) awards three special accolades per year – Medalist Critiques, Gold Circle Awards and Crown Awards. Only a month ago, the 2017-18 staff received news they received a Gold Medal, the highest Medalist Critique possible.


While medal winners are given a concrete rating out of 1,000 points, Crown Awards are awarded for general excellence, making it a far more qualitative measure.


Crown finalists were selected from 1,172 submissions. Due to its media and interactive components, the Round-Up qualified as a hybrid yearbook, of which only 19 became finalists.


On March 22, the CSPA will announce if the yearbook won a Gold Crown or a Silver Crown at its convention in New York.


Winning a Crown is not only an accomplishment for the students and school, but also a mark of the insurmountable effort put in by students and teachers.


“When I go to all these conferences, [I have] noticed different schools kind of are known by whether or not they won a Crown,” Round-Up adviser Sallyanne Harris said. “And I thought this is amazing that we have finally won one, and we’re kind of recognized now as being a Crown-winning school.”


The students put in many hours the previous years both inside and outside of school to perfect the book. From coverage to photography to design, the yearbook was a large time commitment for the students.


“It was great to know that all the hard work I put into the yearbook reaped such amazing benefits,” senior editor-in-chief Manasi Kunte said. “I am really proud of all the people on staff.”


Their time and effort are not the only reason the yearbook won the award. Much was unique about this edition, including a thermal cover, interactive features and professional-level design, allowing for a more immersive experience for students.


“We got a lot of [positive] comments on our design,” junior second-year staff member Samantha Bui said. “Our design editor, Libby Hurt, won an award for design editing and the design she did for this book really helped it come alive.”


The Crown Award has been something the students have set their eyes on for years. A constant fixture in the year’s goals, they strived to go a step up from the awards they had previously won, going the extra mile to add student features, pop culture reference pages and other unique features to make their publication stand out.


Yet this year, the students’ goals are different, straying from the norm of years past.  


“The editors this year decided they were going to focus less on winning awards and more on just making the book more reader-friendly and attractive to the school,” Harris said. “They just want to do something the students would be proud of.”


The feedback from the CSPA sets the current staff a standard for future years, so that they achieve the perfection they continuously work toward.


“Most of [the commentary] was pretty positive,” Kunte said. “There were a few remarks on ways to improve our book, which we have taken into consideration. We’re working towards making those positive changes. It was a good experience to get feedback as well as recognition for our work.”


The win gives students the motivation and spirit to further enhance the quality of the yearbook for time to come.


“For future years, a big thing for us is just making sure the whole book is diverse, everyone gets covered, it equally represents our school in a good way and that we make it beautiful for everyone to enjoy,” Bui said. “We want to be proud of what we do.”