Congratulations to our 2021 Yearbook Contest winners!

February 1, 2022

Faced with covering the 2020-21 school year while in remote or hybrid learning conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois yearbook staffs and their advisers rose to the occasion. Using every ounce of their resourcefulness and creativity, they told powerful stories of a school year few will forget.

In recognition of that work, the Illinois Journalism Education Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 IJEA Yearbook Contest:

Division 1 | Enrollment up to 225 | Results
• Division 2 | Enrollment 226 to 600 | Results
Division 3 | Enrollment 601 to 900 | Results
Division 4 | Enrollment 901 to 2,000 | Results
Division 5 | Enrollment 2,001 to 2,500 | Results
Division 6 | Enrollment 2,501 and greater | Results

Leading the way were the Overall General Excellence winners in the contest’s six enrollment divisions:

• Division 1 | Legend, Lewistown H.S. | Lisa Welker, adviser
• Division 2 | Tiger Memories, Herscher H.S. | Kerri Robinson, adviser
• Division 3 | The Drift, Taylorville H.S. | Stephen Steele, adviser
• Division 4 | Knightline, Triad H.S. | Becky Amen
• Division 5 | Crest, Prospect H.S. | Nicole Stoltz, adviser
• Division 6 | Etruscan, Glenbrook South H.S. | Brenda Field, adviser

Dr. Sally Renaud, journalism professor at Eastern Illinois University and former IJEA executive director, coordinated the contest. According to Dr. Renaud, several things stood out about this year’s entries:

To chronicle how the changing mandates of the pandemic affected their schools, many staffs used a seasonal approach to their sections, going from summer, fall, winter, etc., from the traditional academic, sports, people sections to organize their books.

Many books remembered to tell the story of behind the scenes: who was cleaning the school overnight, how teachers learned new technologies and changed their lessons to adapt to them, and how the cafeteria workers made sure students were fed.

There were some great stories that went beyond what students didn’t get to have (like homecoming or parties) because of the pandemic to what they did have (like new interests and new hobbies), how they adapted and made the best of a difficult situation.

Congratulations to all the staffs, and to the advisers who kept you on track. You have told the stories of your schools in the worst of times with grace and care, and your histories will be read for years to come as we remember this year.

Schools could submit their 2020-21 yearbooks up to the mid-November deadline, ensuring that fall-delivery books were included in the judging. This was the first year in which advisers submitted their entry forms online.

The books were judged in eight individual categories: copy writing, sports coverage, photography, divider pages, graphics, layout and design, theme development and coverage of the school year.

Books earned points based on how they placed in each category:

• 1st = 5 points
• 2nd = 4 points
• 3rd = 3 points
• Honorable mention = 1 point

The three books with the highest scores in each division received first, second and third place for Overall General Excellence in their respective divisions. The books with the fourth and fifth highest scores in each division received honorable mention.

Judges were drawn from the ranks of experienced journalists, teachers and advisers.

As Dr. Renaud mentioned above, we offer our sincerest congratulations to all yearbook staffs and advisers! We are proud of the amazing work you do each year throughout Illinois. Best of luck on your continuing coverage of the current school year; we can’t wait to see next year’s entries!

The overall winners of the 2021 IJEA Yearbook Contest’s six divisions were, clockwise from top left: Knightline, Triad H.S. (D4); Crest, Prospect H.S. (D5); Etruscan, Glenbrook South H.S. (D6); The Drift, Taylorville H.S. (D3); Tiger Memories, Herscher H.S. (D2); and Legend, Lewistown H.S. (D1).


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