The 2017-18 Accolade staff poses with two of their consecutive "Best High School Newspaper" awards from the Los Angeles Press Club. The staff won the awards during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.
Sunny Hills High School

New perspectives from Sunny Hills High School’s newspaper The Accolade

The Accolade is at the beginning of its new era, and it all began with the website.

Personally, I never believed in the value of producing online content. It seemed too tedious to manage while also working on our print issues. I felt like our late nights would end later and test our patience.

But after attending the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute over the summer, my eyes were flipped wide open. I didn’t recognize the prestige of having a website and chose to mask myself from its endless possibilities.

We described it best in our online post titled “Why we’re back: An introduction to our resurrected website” on I felt a certain satisfaction in seeing our work on the internet and a type of permanence to it. I’ve grown to love it.

The Accolade’s first issue of the year (Photo by Noah Somphone)

However, our goals for The Accolade this year stretch far beyond just creating a new website. During the beginning of the year, the editors and I created “The Accolade Guidelines,” a set of rules designed to help us manage our articles, stories, designs and time more efficiently.

This year, we reduced the number of issues to eight and shrank the size of the newspaper along with that. It’s going to be a tabloid size, something that’s easily transportable and easy to read. You can now carry the paper effortlessly without having the pages or sections fly out.

For the past two years, our audience received 12 print issues, all in a size similar to that of professional newspapers like the Los Angeles Times. Students couldn’t carry it in their backpacks because it was too big. They also did not read it in classes because it stretched over their whole desks. Now, that’s all changed.

The Accolade plans to revitalize its magazine edition in January (the advanced journalism staff used to produce a quarterly magazine from the 1970s to 1980s). When the editors and I mentioned the ideas to the staff, their eyes lit up because they were excited to break the monotony of printing standard paper issues.

We’re still patching up the holes, but while doing so, I’m seeing an entirely new side to our staff.

They want this.

I’ve recognized passion like never before. People don’t just do work, but they actually enjoy completing it. I can see us growing not only as a staff but also as our little Acco family. Even though it’s just the beginning of the year, I can see us being comfortable with everyone, so much so that we can joke, laugh and share moments together without the awkward silences.

The second edition of The Accolade. (Photo by Noah Somphone)

I’ve seen many of our staff members work extremely hard, meeting deadlines and thinking about stories that they aren’t even assigned to do. We’re all excited to bring you, as the audience, more content in different mediums, especially with our magazine.

We want to make history, and in five months, you’ll be a part of it, too. Although we’ve never tackled a challenge (like the magazine, website and print issues combined) this big before, why not? Someone has to start a tradition of excellence. Now is a better time than ever.