Pacificus achieves first in ASPA competition


Caroline Cooney

Seniors Giana Liberatore and Emily Schiavone (left to right) work on their swimming spread for the 2016-17 yearbook during class. The Pacificus recently won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association’s yearbook competition.

The Pacificus, JC’s yearbook, recently won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association’s yearbook competition for last year’s edition of the yearbook.

According to Yearbook Advisor Christine Zurkowski, the judges assess the quality of the elements of the yearbook including “photography, writing, captioning memories for the year, being a marketing tool for the school, and to tell the school’s story.”

Zurkowski received the award in the mail on Tuesday, Jan. 3 and presented it to the staff on Wednesday during class. “They were all like, ‘we have a deadline blah blah blah,’ and I said, ‘yeah but I have really exciting news.’ I passed [copies of the award and critiques] out and they got really excited,” Zurkowski said.

Coincidentally, Lexie Young, class of ’16 and previous yearbook editor, visited JC that day during her winter break and was able to celebrate the accomplishment with this year’s staff. “At first, I didn’t believe it! I was so excited, I grabbed the award and ran out of [Zurkowski’s] room screaming. I was so happy and it made me feel good,” Young said.

Senior and current yearbook editor Esther Peters was also surprised that they won the award. “[Winning] motivates me because we actually won an award, and this makes me feel like we can work better and win other awards,” she said.

Caroline Cooney
Current members of last year’s yearbook staff pose together with their award. For the award, the judges critique the overall quality of the publication including the photography and the ability to capture the memories of the school year.

Young attributes the success of the yearbook to the hardworking staff members who brought new ideas to the table. “We had quite a few members, including myself, who had been on the staff for three years and were accustomed to the workload and how to get it done. Also, Mrs. Zurkowski never let a day go by without something getting done on the book,” Young said.

According to Zurkowski, she likes to enter the yearbooks into competition as a way for the staff to evaluate themselves. “We find all the mistakes when it comes out. We’re self-critical, but when you have an objective point of view look at it, who’s also been looking at a lot of other books, you realize that it’s pretty exciting to achieve first place,” she said.

“This year our main focus is names and spelling because last year no one ran spell check on any of their spreads so Mary [Doud] and I have been pounding people to check names and captions,” Peters said. She notes that this year’s staff made several adjustments in the beginning of the year and is working more like a business to make the yearbook successful.

“Now I’m not going to give away this year’s theme, but this year’s is going to be really cool, I think, from a teenager’s perspective,” Zurkowski said. “It’s very timely with pop culture and has a retro look to it. It has a really cool cover, probably of all the covers, it’s my favorite.”

Caroline Cooney is the Editor in Chief of The Patriot and