Our crowning glory

Publications earn CSPA awards


Photo by Kaitlyn Rogers

Graphic by Kaitlyn Rogers. The Tiger Times Newspaper and Tiger Yearbook both received Gold Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Story by Anna Grace Jones, editor in chief

Countless hours are spent on planning and production with late work nights and early morning editors meetings. Hundreds of stories are written, edited and edited again. Photos are shot, retaken, scrapped and sent back to the drawing board. Quotes are coordinated, recorded and transcribed. Pages and spreads are designed, proofed and printed. 

All of this is done for a love of journalism and the community that promotes its growth, but student journalists feel an added benefit when recognized on a grander scale. 

In March, both the Tiger Times Newspaper and Tiger Yearbook were announced as Gold Crown recipients by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association out of 1,145 publications eligible for judging. Gold Crown recipients are judged on their excellence in design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. The Tiger Times is one of 25 organizations to receive the Gold Crown for High School Hybrid News. The Tiger was one of 13 chosen as a Gold High School Print Yearbook. 

“Receiving a Gold Crown for our paper is such an incredibly validating experience. We work hard to give a voice to our student body,” newspaper editor in chief Molly Kyles said. “Winning awards is never the priority for us but having our work recognized really affirms that what we do has an audience.” 

CSPA Gold Crowns are typically announced at their annual Spring Convention in New York City. Every two years, members of THS Publications travel to attend this conference and explore the city with hopes of receiving a Gold Crown. However, the 2020 convention and trip were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The Gold Crown is the only award that we typically get to receive in person. Every other honor we win is announced online, and while we are so grateful, I was excited at the idea of receiving this award together, in person,” Kyles said. “It’s hard to not be able to hug my fellow editors over such a big honor, and it’s hard knowing this was our only chance to see our work be recognized in person and we missed it.”

However, the public acknowledgement of this honor is not the only aspect that is mourned by staff. The opportunity to bond as an organization and further the community environment of these publications is also lost.

“I was pretty sad we weren’t going to be able to get the award at the conference in New York. I think it would have been a full circle moment for all the editors and staff members going on the trip and a symbol of our teamwork and perseverance,” yearbook editor in chief Haley Wood said. “Although, getting the award is much less important than ensuring national safety, so I understand the cancellation.” 

Despite the disappointment of a canceled convention, members of both staffs continue to push forward with hopes of producing the best publications possible with hopes of earning a 2021 Crown. This determination is derived from the motivation and encouragement displayed by advisors.

“I think a lot of work goes into an award of this caliber. It starts at the top with Mrs. Potter and Mr. Smith. We would know nothing without them,” yearbook editor in chief Meredith Green said. “They push all of the editors and staff members to create the best book they can, and they really set the bar for us at the beginning of the year to make a book that is different, original and award-winning.” 

This mindset transcends the ranks of both newspaper and yearbook students, pushing all members to be the best student journalists possible.

“Our staff works harder than anyone could possibly know, and to see that hard work pay off is so reassuring and affirming. I’m glad that the staff can see that what they do matters and that people see their work and think they’re as good as I know they are,” newspaper editor in chief Addison Cross said. “We have some of the best student journalists the state of Texas has to offer, and I’m so proud of everything our program has accomplished.