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Hard work, creativity of El Paso ISD high school yearbook staffs recognized by Walsworth

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT – Feb. 13, 2024) — Numerous El Paso ISD high schools have received national recognition for the work and creativity of their students. 

Walsworth Yearbooks is a publishing company that annually recognizes the extensive efforts that go into the process of producing a yearbook. 

The student-led staff at El Paso High School earned praise for their 2023 yearbook theme, “Look at Us Now.” The publication offered reflections from members of the El Paso High Class of 2023 and the challenges they faced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began during the latter half of their freshman year. The "Look at Us Now” theme was featured in Walsworth Yearbooks’ 10th volume of “Possibilities,” a collection of the most inspiring and creative yearbooks from throughout the country.   

El Paso High Journalism teacher, Daniel Ornelas, said the recognition is a huge honor because the publication is seen by a national audience.  

“I’m proud of the students because they are committed to the process for the entire school year,” Ornelas said. “It’s nice to see their reaction when they get recognized and see their hard work paying off.”  

Besides teaching, Ornelas also oversees the creation of the yearbook and serves as a mentor to the students.  

“When we make the yearbook, it’s a journalistic document, so we must be ethical with our reporting. I also try to push the students to do better and spark their creativity,” Ornelas said.  

El Paso High wasn’t the only campus to receive praise from Walsworth Yearbooks. Chapin, Irvin, Austin, Burges, Franklin and Coronado high schools all received national recognition as well. Walsworth Yearbooks featured the students’ photographs and stories. 

Apart from receiving praise, some of the students said working on the yearbook team has also inspired them to think about their future.  

“After taking the class, it made me start realizing which careers I wanted to pursue after high school,” said Alyson Andreu, a senior at El Paso High. “I look forward to joining a publication at my college.” 

Ornelas said even students who aren’t interested in starting a journalism career will be able to take away something from the classes.  

“These are skills that the students are going to be able to use. They’ll develop leadership skills, network with people, and they’ll be better prepared for the digital world,” Ornelas said.