Oak Knoll Yearbooks Earn National Program of Excellence Awards

Oak Knoll School’s Upper School yearbook Aquila and Lower School yearbook Oak Leaves were both recently recognized as award-winning yearbooks by Jostens, the leading producer of yearbooks and student-created content.

Oak Knoll’s Aquila and Oak Leaves earned Josten’s 2021 National Yearbook Program of Excellence award at the Bronze Level.

Jostens’ National Yearbook Program of Excellence Awards are presented twice a year, in spring and in fall based on the yearbook’s arrival date at the school. The award was presented to both Oak Knoll School yearbook programs for achieving defined criteria in between one and three of the following categories: creating an inclusive yearbook, generating school engagement, and successfully managing the yearbook creation process. Jostens recognizes yearbooks that reflect a broad representation of the student body while helping students develop 21st-century skills such as communication, collaboration, and information and communications technologies (ICT) literacy.

Throughout this past year, Aquila’s production was led by student co-editors Isabella Kooch ’21 of Summit and Christina Sutton ’21 of Madison. Janet Mangold, Upper School English teacher and Jennifer Breitenstein, Upper School photography teacher were Aquila’s Oak Knoll School staff advisers.

“Having advised the yearbook at Oak Knoll for 10 years, I have never seen teamwork, creativity, and flexibility like I saw with this year’s staff,” said Breitenstein. “They rose above the challenges of COVID, and remote learning, and we are looking forward to many staffers returning next year.”

Mangold agreed and said this year’s creativity, effort and dedication went far and above expectations to put this book together for the entire community to enjoy.

Oak Knoll juniors and senior editors – and a variety of other student staff – work each school year to produce Aquila. Its first issue was produced on campus in the early 1970s. Generally, around 240 pages, students who work on the yearbook staff gain expertise with graphic design, desktop publishing, journalistic writing and photography, business management, and public relations. Juniors and seniors who have served as staff members can apply for editorial positions. Throughout the school year, yearbook staff meets regularly twice a week after school or other times to meet deadlines.

Lower School students in grades 4-6 produce the Oak Leaves yearbook with assistance from advisers Kimberly Connolly, Oak Knoll’s Associate Director of Technology Integration, and Kelly Hartmann, Lower School Physical Education teacher.

“Being able to create and pull together this yearbook under the pandemic restrictions of COVID-19 (social distancing, masks, plex glass) proved that the JOY will always be found at Oak Knoll Lower School through any challenge we are faced with,” said Connolly. “With all that we were missing this year, we still had so much to show.”

Founded in 1897, Jostens has produced school yearbooks for more than 60 years. Schools rely on Jostens and their local Jostens representatives to provide a combination of journalism education and technology tools to deliver a learning experience that helps students develop 21st-century skills in journalism, photography, writing, and design, leadership, and business while creating the permanent record of the school year. Jostens invests in state-of-the-art technology, best-in-class service, educational curriculum, and award-winning print manufacturing platforms to plan, design, build and produce yearbooks.

Congratulations to Aquila & Oak Leaves!