BFA Yearbook Wins Gold Level National Award


Rachel Ledoux, Editor

While Bellows Free Academy is no stranger to sports titles and club accomplishments, this year brought about a first for one group: the Yearbook Club. For the first time, BFA’s Yearbook committee has received a Gold Level Josten’s Award from the organization that manufactures their yearbooks.

The Gold Level Award honors yearbooks across the country that have demonstrated commitment to representation and production amidst their teams. Winning books receive certificates for staff members, as well as an outline for a press release, so they may inform local media of their success.

In the case of BFA’s yearbook, the staff was tasked with meeting three sets of criteria in order to become a Gold Level book.

Firstly, all deadlines for page submissions must be met. Deadlines range throughout the year and can be spaced out or in rapid succession, with several sets of pages due in just a few weeks. The BFA yearbook was able to send in every page of both the hardcover book and Spring Supplement insert to publishers on time. 

Secondly, yearbooks are asked to either sell books to 70% of the school population or achieve a 2% sale rate rise from last year. The BFA yearbook met the second criterion, selling over 400 books this school year.

Thirdly, at least 50% of the student body must be featured in the yearbook three times or more. In BFA’s case, the yearbook compiled pictures of dozens of students, with over 450 having three or more photos in the book. This criterion is particularly important, as it emphasizes a full coverage of students – not just those who participate in many activities.

According to Jessica Southwick (‘24), a yearbook staff member, they couldn’t have met the third criterion without help from the student body.

“It’s great that we won the award, but it’s also a reflection of people being really engaged this year,” Southwick said. They added, “We wouldn’t have won without everyone in the school being really engaged.”

The Mercury spoke with several members of the yearbook staff to gauge their feelings about winning the award, and the shared feeling of excitement and justification was clear.

“It felt really good,” Adaline Parent (‘25) said. “We worked very hard to meet all our deadlines and a lot of us put in extra work outside of the club so stuff got done.”

For some students, working for this award was their introduction to yearbook – making it even more special.

“This was my first year doing yearbook, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Sophia Sinagra (‘24) said. “To get the award was super cool – a good end to my first year.”

In addition to staff work was the effort of Jennifer Parent and Alisa Aylward, the yearbook advisors. In particular, Aylward notes, was the extra effort from Parent.

“This [award] was really her baby,” Aylward said. “She worked so hard for us to get it.” 

Parent, however, attributes the success to the entire yearbook committee. 

“I am so proud of the staff for this, especially since we are a club and not a class,” Parent said. “The staff did an amazing job working around their other activities [to get this done].”