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Wando’s yearbook collects national and state honors

The students who work on Wando High School’s yearbook, Legend, continue to build on its legendary status. They learned this week their 2021 edition, “The New Normal,” received the Blue & Gold Award for Writing Excellence from Quill & Scroll (an international scholastic journalism organization) as part of their annual Yearbook Excellence Contest. This is the fourth year in a row Legend picked up this honor, is only one of four schools in the United States (with 1,000 students or more) selected for this recognition.

Wando also received the Blue & Gold Award for Photography Excellence, one of just three schools (1,000 students or more) to be recognized in this category.

Members of the Legend staff collected 13 individual awards from Quill & Scroll as well, a Wando yearbook record. The following students were honored:

First Place, Academics Writing - Senior Grayson Taylor

Second Place, Student Life Writing - Junior Jacob Pelbath

Second Place, Sports Spread Design - Junior Samantha Bumgarner

Second Place, Academics Photo - Graduate Brynn Burke

Second Place, Clubs Photo - Senior Anna Jane Morrall

Second Place, Photo Illustration - Senior Ella-Drew Dodd

Third Place, Graphic Design Spread - Graduate Rylee Bogden

Third Place, Pandemic Story - Graduate Emalee Goode

Third Place, Academics Photo - Graduate Gracie Orr

Third Place, Pandemic Photo - Graduate Joseph Grech

Honorable Mention, Student Life Spread - Senior Clara Barresi

Honorable Mention, Academics Spread - Junior Eva Andrus

Honorable Mention, Sports Action Photo - Graduate Joseph Grech


National Scholastic Press Association Honors

The Wando yearbook staff recently earned an All-American rating with Four Marks of Distinction in Coverage, Writing, Photography, and Design from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). The honors are second only to their 2018 rating from the NSPA when they received an All-American rating with Five Marks of Distinction.

Earlier in November, the Warriors learned their 2021 edition of Legend, titled “The New Normal,” made history by placing in the Best in Show contest at the NSPA’s fall convention in Philadelphia for the first time in school history. “The New Normal” finished in ninth place in the entire country in the big book division (384-528 pages).

“Publications and broadcast productions submit their work at the conference and hundreds of entries are judged on site,” explained Wando’s yearbook adviser and English teacher, Phillip Caston. “For yearbooks, books are split into divisions based on their page count. Understandably, the ‘big books’ are some of the national juggernauts when it comes to awards.” 

Class of 2021 graduates Brynn Burke, Alexis Kramer, and Olivia Potter served as editors-in-chief of “The New Normal.”

Wando picked up individual honors at the fall NSPA conference in Philadelphia as well. Senior Olivia Estoppey (currently serving as Legend’s photo editor) came in fifth overall in the Sports Feature Photography contest and graduate Mary-Michael O’Hara received Honorable Mention for Writer of the Year; O’Hara was the first Warrior to be a finalist for the NSPA Writer of the Year. Only 10 students are selected as finalists nationally for each category. 

Estoppey and O'Hara are two of only seven students in Wando yearbook history to be named national finalists in NSPA contests.

State honors

The Warriors made more history at the state level this year. Several weeks ago, the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association (SCSPA) named Legend the best yearbook in the state. It is the second time Wando has earned this prestigious honor.

“We are so proud of our Wando Legend staff and advisor, Mr. Phillip Caston,” said Principal Dr. Sherry Eppelsheimer. “Our yearbook has a rich history of excellence; however, the honors it has received recently surpass even the grandest past awards. We congratulate our students and advisor for this locally and nationally recognized, beautiful work, The Legend.

The yearbook staff who produced the “The New Normal” also placed in each of the individual competitions, which is a first for Wando. They won more first place awards and more individual honors than any other school in South Carolina.

The following received SCSPA individual awards:

First Place, Academics Spread - Junior Eva Andrus

First Place, Alternative Copy - Junior Katie Brown

First Place, Clubs Spread - Senior Harper Duffy

First Place, Cover Design - Graduates Brynn Burke, Alexis Kramer, and Olivia Potter

First Place, Feature Copy - Senior Allie Frizzell

First Place, Feature Photo - Senior Anna Jane Morrall

First Place, Personality Profile - Senior Lily Higgins

First Place, Sports Copy - Graduate Mary-Michael O'Hara

First Place, Sports Reaction Photo – Graduate Joseph Grech

Second Place, Sports Spread - Seniors Harmon Kerrison and Millie Rice

Second Place, Student Life Spread - Graduate Rylee Bogden and senior Lily Higgins

Second Place, Theme Package - Graduates Brynn Burke, Alexis Kramer, and Olivia Potter

Second Place, Sports Action Photo - Senior Anna Jane Morrall

Third Place, Extended Caption - Junior Eva Andrus

"For these students to accomplish such honors in the midst of a global pandemic that brought extraordinary and difficult challenges to yearbook production speaks volumes to their talent and dedication to the craft,” added Caston. “I personally feel immense pride after seeing them refuse to give up or produce a subpar product; they took the adversity head-on and produced some of Wando yearbook's best work in our history." 

For more information, email Phillip Caston at