Lawrence High School’s yearbook named finalist for prestigious Pacemaker award

photo by: Contributed photo

Picture here, on the left, is a copy of the 2020 edition of Lawrence High School's Red & Black Yearbook. On the right, the yearbook's editors Kenna McNally, left, and Sophia Kaufman, right, with LHS journalism adviser and graphic design teacher Barbara Tholen.

Lawrence High School’s yearbook staff has been recognized nationally by one of the most prestigious awards for student journalists.

The Lawrence school district recently announced LHS’ Red & Black yearbook was named a finalist for a 2020 Pacemaker award. The Pacemakers, which are awarded by the National Scholastic Press Association, are widely considered the highest honor for student journalism.

Barbara Tholen, LHS’ journalism adviser and graphic design teacher, said the recognition was “sweet” because the 2019-2020 school year was a difficult one for her students.

While the coronavirus pandemic made K-12 education difficult throughout the country, LHS also started the school year off with a delay because of construction at the building. Tholen said the construction also led to the staff being constantly in flux, even requiring them to work out of a converted maintenance shed at times. Then the pandemic disrupted the final quarter of the school year.

Despite the challenges, the students were still able to finish their work and publish a yearbook, she said.

“Nothing about last year was easy,” Tholen said in the district’s announcement. “Completing the yearbook took extremely dedicated students.”

The LHS staff was one of 51 yearbooks from 18 states to be named finalists. LHS was last a finalist for the award in 2017, according to the school district.

Winners for the Pacemaker awards will be announced during a virtual event on April 10.

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