Winchester HS Wins National Honor – and Some Money!

Photographed receiving the check and honor, left to right: Herff Jones Yearbook representatives Nicole Laughrey and Kim Minnich, 2022 Golden Era Editor-in-Chief Reed Brandenburg, Yearbook Sponsor and Adviser Dustin Shannon, and Varsity Brands Regional Impact Director Mark Chambers; along with the 2022 yearbook staff. 

On Friday, September 16, 2022, the Winchester Community High School Golden Era Yearbook staff was officially recognized as the 2022 Varsity Brands School Spirit Award Winner for Best Yearbook.  This is a national award with WCHS being the only school in the Midwest who was a finalist.  In addition to the special recognition as a national winner, the program received a $3000 cash prize.  Due to Covid, the 2022 review included books published in both 2020 and 2021.  WCHS had also previously been a national finalist in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Every year, regardless of the size or location of a school, the Winchester Community High School Yearbook Committee has one overarching goal: capture the moments of the year.

In March of 2020, the Golden Era yearbook staff found themselves scrambling for a new focus on a book already well under way. With pages already complete and more in the works, plans had shifted quickly. The yearbook committee forged ahead, conducting phone interviews, scouring social media for photos, capturing online learning by students submitting photos. While these pages were planned out for months, this committee was able to quickly pivot and truly capture the spirit of the school, the kindness of the greater community, and most importantly, the memories that made a difficult year not so bad after all. School spirit looks different at every school, but at Winchester, it revolves around chasing success, rising above, and working relentlessly towards victory. And at the end of the day, there is no doubt that the 2020 Golden Era Yearbook staff did just that.

Among the Nations finalists and those Winchester was up against for this award were:

Los Lunas High School | Los Lunas, NM
Governor Livingston High School | Berkeley Heights, NJ
Rio Rancho High School | Rio Rancho, NM
Vista Ridge High School | Colorado Springs, CO
Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN

Here to Recognize and present the 2022 Varsity Brands Most Spirited yearbook program Varsity Brands,

–         Mark Chambers, Regional Impact Director for Indiana and 6 other states,

–         Mrs. Kim Minnich and Mrs. Nicole Laughrey, two of the most decorated Herff Jones Yearbook representatives in the state of Indiana.

Ara Cowper was the editor-in-chief of the 2020 yearbook titled “Through the Eyes of a Falcon.”  Ara is now at Indiana University Bloomington where she is studying sports marketing and management and continues to hone her journalistic skills as the social media and digital intern at the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology.

Dustin Shannon is a 2012 graduate of Ball State University in his tenth year at Winchester Community High School and has been primary adviser to nine yearbook publications, assistant adviser to three, and served as editor in high school.  He has spoken at several journalism workshops and in 2019 was a national finalist for Varsity Brands most spirited teacher.