YHS Journalism program widely considered Oklahoma’s best
For the 10th time in the last 11 years, the Yukon High School Yearbook has won the state championship. YHS won the award at the University of Oklahoma this past Monday.
The Yearbook staff took first-place in nine-out-of-28 categories and finished in second or third-place in most of the other categories.
The state championship award is given out by Oklahoma Scholastic Media (OSM). The OSM is in their 101st year and along with being one of the oldest, it is widely considered as one of the most prestigious scholastic journalism programs in the nation. Yukon beat out 16 other schools this year to win the Yearbook state championship.
The Journalism Program competes every November in the Yearbook competition at OU and every April at the newspaper competition, which also takes place at OU.
Erik Jackson has been the Yearbook teacher and the Journalism teacher at Yukon High School for the past 13 years, where he has seen his Yearbook and Journalism program thrive. The Yearbook and the Insight, which is the YHS newspaper, has won the past three state championships combined.
Jackson said his goal when came to Yukon High School was to turn the Journalism program into the best in the state and now they are competing at the national level.
“Our kids continue to set the standard,” Jackson said. “Every student that is on our staff works very hard and they take pride in putting out a great product. They embrace the tradition, which is what makes this possible.”
Emma Sauser, a senior at Yukon High School, has been the editor of both the Yearbook and the Insight the past two years since she was a junior at YHS.
“Mr. Jackson instills in us from the very start that this is not a regular school yearbook or a regular school newspaper,” Sauser said. “We hold ourselves to a higher-level than that. We expect to compete against colleges and compete to be the best in the nation because that is what we are used to now. When we go places, we are expected to win. He has taught us a very high level and a higher level than most high schools are expected to learn.”
In 2015, Yukon High School took first-place in the Benny Award, which is given out to the top yearbooks in the high school and collegiate levels across the nation. YHS competed against some of the top universities in the country and still finished as one of the top-placers.
Last year, a group of the Yearbook and Insight staff flew out to Los Angeles to compete in the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award, which signifies that they are one of the top yearbooks in the nation.
The goal this year for the YHS Yearbook staff is to go to Seattle and New York, where they will compete for national championships. The competition in New York City is for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association national championship.
Jackson said if they are in the contest to win a national championship, they will make the trips to Seattle and New York City, but if they are not, they won’t go. They find out if they are in the running in December and January.
The Yukon High School Yearbook and Insight staffs have 30 computers in their classroom, with more than $25,000 worth of camera equipment, including eight full-frame cameras.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Journalism program at YHS is they are one of two programs at the high school that is not subsidized. The only other program that can say that is the football program.
The Journalism program makes its money through yearbook advertising. Jackson said none of it would be possible without the support and help from the head Yukon High School principle, Melissa Barlow.