The staff of the Minnetonka High School yearbook, The Voyageur, has received awards of distinction from the yearbook’s publisher and from several press associations for its 2019-20 edition, titled Things We Know for Sure.
“We had no idea, in August 2020, that the year would take the turn it did,” said Tessa Ikola, MHS English teacher and advisor for The Voyageur. “From the moment that we went online in [spring 2020], the question was not if we would finish the book, or even how. It was ‘How can we continue doing the best job we can, for our community, even from home?’”
Ikola explained that the book’s theme took on an even greater significance as the year went on.
“Even in a time where kids were unsure of everything around them,” she said, “the one thing we still knew for sure is that we could finish this [yearbook] and we could do a good job.”
Receiving acclaim through awards programs validated the hard work the team put into their project. The 2019-20 Voyageur was featured in Balfour publishing's Yearbook Yearbook. According to Ikola, the publisher selects a few yearbooks out of hundreds of submissions to feature each year. “This is the second time our entire yearbook has been selected as one of the featured books,” she said.
“Congratulations for creating a book that both captures the history of the school year and the unique stories of your students,” Mark Goshgarian, Balfour’s General Manager of Publishing and Digital Assets said in a press release. “Your inclusion in the 35th edition of The Yearbook Yearbook allows your outstanding work to serve as inspiration for [yearbook] staff across the nation.”
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association also recognized yearbook staff as Gold Medalists for last school year’s book, and the association awarded the team with the All-Columbian Honors Award for The Voyageur’s reference section. This is the first time the MHS team has earned the All-Columbian Honors Award.
In addition to these accolades, the American Scholastic Press Association also recognized the 2019-20 edition of The Voyageur with a first-place award.
The editor-in-chief for The Voyageur during the 2019-20 school year was Grace Blackwell ‘21. “Grace has spent the last four years of her life dedicated to the yearbook and has been key to The Voyageur’s success,” shared Ikola.
Other 2019-20 editors included Joshua Patch ‘22, Aine Crimmins ‘21 and Taylor Hedlund ‘20.