Alpha Omega Yearbook holds its own at IJEA competition


Kelly Rappaport, staff writer

The Alpha Omega Yearbook recently won several recognitions for the 2019-2020 publication at the Illinois Journalism Education Association’s annual student media competition. This year marked the book’s first entry into the competition, and the results proved to be spectacular.

The competition, divided into six divisions based on student population, is open to all Illinois high school yearbooks that are members of the Journalism Education Association. Yearbooks are judged in nine categories ranging from design to content and photography. Joliet West’s 2019-2020 book placed in four of the nine categories.

West earned 2nd place for Best Divider Pages, 2nd place for Best Theme Development, and honorable mentions in Best Graphics and Overall Coverage of the Year in the sixth division. This division set them to compete against well-established programs from schools such as Glenbrook South, Prospect High School, and Huntley High School.

The yearbook is headed by a board of editors consisting of seniors Kiersten Jordan, Louis Mendoza, and Kelly Rappaport. “The awards the book received makes all the work put into it feel all the more worth it. Myself and the other editors were already very proud of the work we did and what we were able to accomplish, and the recognition of this at the IJEA media contests was the cherry on top,” said Jordan, the editor mostly in charge of graphics and art.

 The majority of the book’s wow factor came from the new design concept, conceived by senior editor Louis Mendoza. “At first we decided to go a more simplistic route, but I saw that we had an opportunity to make it more memorable,” said Mendoza. “I understood the wariness of my peers at the thought of straying away from our original concept, but I was confident in our abilities as a team.” Needless to say, the team pulled through enough to earn itself significant recognition.

“It wasn’t always easy, though,” senior editor Kelly Rappaport admitted. “I was in charge of the book’s stories and captions, and it definitely became more difficult to track people down and get content once school went remote.”

The yearbook is published via a company called Walsworth, and the editors work closely with their advisor Ms. Galloy as well as Walsworth representative Mary Slater in order to create the yearbook as we know it. “The 2020 Alpha Omega yearbook staff threw out the notion of doing what had always been done before, and instead worked to create a fresh, modern design.  As with any major change, this was not easy, but they stuck to the plan and created an amazing publication,” said Slater.

“Our program has grown over the years and I am proud of the challenges we have overcome and how we have continued stepping up our game to create memories for our school community,” said Galloy. 

Considering the book had such a successful first run, the Tigers are hoping to submit again this year despite the challenges that come with recording such an unusual school year. They intend to cover as much as they can in addition to improving their skills to create what they hope to be their best yearbook yet. The 2020-2021 yearbook is on sale now at for those interested in purchasing a time capsule for such an eventful year.