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North County yearbook staff received an award for the 2016-17 yearbook and received 3rd place out of nearly 50 schools that were nominated at the Missouri Journalism Education Association Conference held at Southeast Missouri State University.

North County Yearbook Committee Advisor Ashley Douglas said they placed in the category of theme development, which encompasses everything from the cover to how they incorporate the theme throughout the entire book.

“We were excited to place in this category because it was something we had really worked on this year after attending the conference last year and learning some valuable tools,” said Douglas. “We were excited and honored to even place because some of the schools in attendance had books that are nationally recognized ... so to place among books of such high esteem was a real honor.”

Douglas said the awards are chosen by award-winning yearbook advisers who are also the keynote and breakout session speakers throughout the conference, some of which are world renowned photographers on the side.

“The keynote and breakouts this year were particularly valuable in aspects of photography and page design,” Douglas said. “This was our second year entering our book, or parts of it, in contest as it is only our second year attending the conference.”

Douglas said this is only her second book as a yearbook advisor. Last year they entered and received an honorable mention in the same category, so they were really determined to improve on the previous year's book.

“We're always looking to grow and improve,” said Douglas. “We're learning and growing each year as a yearbook staff. The more we attend the conference, the more we research, the more we practice photography skills, the better our book is becoming.”

Douglas said they pride themselves on making “The Shield” as inclusive as possible. It's easy to have the same people on every page because a lot of kids are just involved in everything, which is great, but they really seek out other kids and make sure they're including many different people and all aspects of the student body.

“The cover of the '16-17 Shield is really a standout,” said Douglas. “Attending the conference last year, we were able to sit down with a graphic designer from Josten's (the yearbook company) and design our cover hands-on. I feel that short session really set our book apart from Shields of the past.”

Douglas explained they were able to do the same thing again at the conference this year, so they already have their cover for the '17-18 Shield.

“We try not to give too much away, but we are focusing on this being North County's 50th year,” Douglas said. “My staff this year is already showing great promise and talent, so we're very excited.”

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman said he knows they worked hard on it and they have a really good yearbook staff.

“That is a really good group of kids who invested a lot of their own time and effort outside of just that class,” said Poorman. “I was impressed with the yearbook. It’s one of the better yearbooks I’ve seen and I take pride anytime we do something like that.”

Poorman said there are no classes when entering in a yearbook competition. It’s not like 3A or 4A, they are up against every other school.

“To place or to get any kind of recognition with a yearbook submission is quite a feat,” said Poorman. “We were proud of them. Mrs. Douglas and her kids work hard and it looks good on the district and we got a really nice yearbook out of it.”

The North County Board of Education also had compliments on the design of last year’s yearbook. Donna Hickman said the book had a ton of copy and it will be a wonderful reflection of the year.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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