Journalism Staff Achieves at A&M Camp


OTHS yearbook, magazine and online newspaper staff members receiving a $1000 check for increasing yearbook sales.

Walking up to the stage, junior, Editor in Chief of The Talon yearbook Alexis Garcia pears out at the auditorium filled with journalism staffers from 84 schools. A feeling of accomplishment rushes through Garcia as her hands reach out to take the $1,000 check OTHS yearbook staffers won for increasing sales. Only two schools received such checks.
It’s only the first day of camp and things are looking up for Garcia and her fellow OTHS staffers.

“As I walked up to get the check our school had won I was overwhelmed with pride in our staff,” Garcia said. “We had worked super hard to create a great book and our ability to win was just another way to show that we had done a good job.”

The $1,000 check can be used however the journalism advisor Shetye Cypher decides is best. A decision has not been reached but some ideas she has are buying more equipment, a class iPad or camera lenses.

“When they called our school’s name I was stunned,” Cypher said. “I looked over at the kids and we were all so surprised that we didn’t move at first.”

OTHS magazine, online newspaper and yearbook staffs attended the Balfour Communication Workshop at Texas A&M. For four days the staffers lived like college students, eating in the cafeteria, sleeping in dorms and attending classes.

“The dorms at Texas A&M are super nice and I got to share the rooms with friends and it allowed us to make many more memories throughout the day,” Garcia said.

Another small assembly took place at the end of the camp where individual staffers were awarded. Staffers got awards for a number of things including being a good writer, photographer and creating good yearbook spreads. Junior, yearbook Sales Manager Kristin Leclair won Best Marketing Plan, sophomore photographer Taylor Ross won Best in Show, senior Valeria Torrealba and sophomore Rachel Degroot won Outstanding Writer.

“I was so surprised when my name was called for the award because I knew that I was surrounded by amazing photographers and I didn’t think my photo would have such an impact on everyone,” Ross said. “I was shaking a lot when I went up to accept my award, but it was a great experience.”

The award winning shot of a marriage proposal taken by sophomore Taylor Ross.
The award winning shot of a marriage proposal taken by sophomore Taylor Ross.

Ross happened to be in the right place at the right time and snapped a beautiful picture that ultimately won her the Best in Show award. A couple stopped and sat down on a campus bench surrounded by rose petals while Ross was walking by for her class project. Before Ross knew it the boy was on one knee purposing to his girlfriend.

“I was pleasantly surprised with the shot because I was really worried about the picture not being in focus,” Ross said. “I was really happy I got to witness that moment.”

Over all the OTHS journalism staff had a successful camp experience. The information and tips learned in classes will contribute to the hard working hours spent on creating the yearbook, magazine and online paper.

“As the editor of the yearbook, I hope I can take all that I learned from the camp and incorporate it into the book,” Garcia said.