Druid Hills yearbook earns honors from Georgia Scholastic Press Association

two female students hold yearbooks on red carpet

It’s something almost every high school student cherishes for a lifetime.

It contains pictures, quotes, warm wishes, and heartfelt letters about the future.

It enshrines teams, clubs, friends, and families.

It can be done thematically, artistically, and stylistically, calling upon a team of hardworking, creative personalities for its construction.

It’s a high school yearbook—one of the most important relics from any student’s journey through education. At DeKalb County School District (DCSD), one yearbook—as well as its team of creators—has proven to stand out among many others statewide.

Druid Hills High School’s yearbook, Saga, recently received two superior ratings in two categories from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association. The 2017-2018 yearbook was recognized in the Cover Design category as well as the Theme Development category.

According to Druid Hills High English and ESOL teacher Emily Robinson, who also serves as the student advisor for Saga, the award-winning book was the product of about 16 hardworking students.

“I was so surprised and excited [to learn of our ratings.] I felt very honored,” Robinson said. “The students were also really excited. We were mailed some awards, had them framed, and placed them around the school. We emailed students who either graduated or left the staff to let them know—it’s something they can put on their resumes and college applications!”

The 2017-2018 Saga yearbook’s award-winning theme was “And the envelope, please…”, an allusion to award ceremonies such as the Academy Awards or Golden Globes. Students who purchased yearbooks received a ticket to a yearbook kickoff event, an envelope containing a list of students for each grade, a gold ribbon, a gold sticker, and more.

The yearbook staff’s kickoff event was even modeled after popular award shows. Staff and students enjoyed a DJ, a photography wall complete with a backdrop, and a ceremony in

“It’s a highly thematic book,” Robinson said. “It’s not a generic theme, and judges respond well to that. The theme, when done correctly, will show how much hard work and detail went into the book. I think that really resonated well with the judges.”

Robinson credits Saga’s superior rating in Theme Development to the book’s other top-scoring category, Cover Design, and vice versa. Saga’s cover depicts an Oscar-esque statue with devil horns to match Druid Hills’ mascot.

“Our opening pages explains our themes, as well as the statue on the cover, which we started calling the ‘Dewey Devil Award,’ after our mascot,” Robinson said. “We put the statue throughout the book and included a history feature about the mascot. There aren’t a lot of devil mascots around anymore, and we talked about how ours has persisted through the decades while people have tried to ban it. We then explained how it’s a good emblem of persistence and staying true to yourself. It really inspired the theme overall.”

Druid Hills Saga students on stageThe cover of the yearbook is also embossed, black and gold, and designed by a former student who has gone on to study art at the University of Georgia. In other words, it’s a book that is specific to the Druid Hills High School Class of 2018.

Despite losing students to dual enrollment, work-based learning, and hectic International Baccalaureate schedules, Robinson claims Druid Hills’ yearbook program is one of the most underrated. She said many interpersonal skills are learned on a daily basis, and that the program helps run picture day on an annual basis.

“You learn so many life skills,” Robinson said. “You have to connect with your community. You have to sell ads. You have to interview people. You have to take photos, use photo editing software, meet deadlines, write captions, write feature stories, and a lot of little things you don’t think about. You have to attend functions. Skills are just picked up as you go.”

In future years, Robinson hopes to increase the yearbook staff to allow more time for creativity. She hopes to claim more awards—including writing, photography, club photos, and more—very soon.

“I’ve never entered the book in any competition before. We sent it in in May and only heard back in November,” said Robinson. “We’ll be sure to pursue more awards in the future.”