Scottsbluff students with the Bluff and the Echoes receive award

November 10, 2016 GMT

Scottsbluff High School was part of only a select group of schools in Nebraska to receive a Cornhusker journalism award, which is the highest honor given by the Nebraska High School Press Association.

These were awarded to two different type of media groups at the school.

The Nebraska High School Press Association held a fall conference on Oct. 17 where the schools who received the awards were announced. There were 28 yearbooks from different schools that were submitted, 11 newspapers, 11 web pages, and four broadcasts.

Scottsbluff High School entered in the yearbook and newspaper divisions. They received the Cornhusker award for the yearbook and the newspaper received a superior rating.

Terry Pitkin, journalism adviser at Scottsbluff High School, said he was very pleased that the yearbook received the Cornhusker award. The school has done well in the competition for the past 10-12 years.

“What I tell the students is that you are telling the story of the year,” said Pitkin. “It’s not taking photos of your friends but it is an accurate telling of the story of the year.”

Some of the staff were juniors last year. Pitkin said it’s a huge plus to have the students come back and apply for yearbook their senior year.

“Year-in, year-out, they will do a good job and success breeds success,” said Pitkin.

Pitkin said there also needs to be a certain concentration on the year-round such as student’s activities which take place outside of school but are still important.

“We understand what judges are looking for and understand what the purpose is for the yearbook. That is what the goal becomes that for the students. And doing quality journalism,” said Pitkin.

Pitkin said that the students who have the yearbook should be able to look at it 50 years later and be filled with lots of memories.

“They will be able to tell what they did during that school year,” said Pitkin.

Courtney Willis, who is a Freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the editor-in-chief for the yearbook, said they worked really hard at submitting entries.

“It’s exciting and really great to receive the award,” said Willis.

She said she had a great staff to work with and all of the students had great ideas that they could build off of.

“Our goal was to dive into what the life of a typical Scottsbluff High School student and share their experiences,” said Willis.

She said working on the yearbook was really fun and her highlight of high school. She is currently studying nutrition, exercise, and health sciences at UNL.

Willis said she learned how to work with other people and communicate with others through being on the yearbook staff.

Her favorite aspect was interviewing people and getting to see their interesting perspectives.

“It was cool to see what everybody’s thoughts were,” said Willis.

She always had a knack for design and her dad is a graphic designer too. She liked designing pages and wanted a leadership position.

Willis said she appreciated Pitkin because she said he is not afraid to give his opinion and do it in a way that was constructive criticism.

“He taught me to think for myself and not what everybody else thought. Think outside of the box,” said Willis. “I really appreciate what he did for me.”