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Colorado Student Media Association


Colorado Student Media Association


Colorado Student Media Association


Middle school yearbook adviser recognized as Adviser of the Year

Laurel Wicke, Drake MS

Laurel Wicke, of Drake Middle School, is the Colorado Student Media Association’s 2023 Adviser of the Year.

When most people think about their own middle school yearbook, they remember a slim volume with some cookie-cutter layouts. When people see the yearbooks that the students at Drake Middle School publish, they are shocked. This is thanks to Wicke’s ability to coach students to excellence.

“People, including myself, are always flabbergasted at the high quality of our yearbook,” said assistant principal Sara Maddock. “Laurel has strong instructional practices and is very committed to her students.”

Wicke’s patience is key to her relationships with students, according to principal Megan Motley.

“Laurel provides students both the necessary guidance and freedom to think critically and creatively,” said Motley. “Her staff have been mentored into dedicating themselves to the thousands of big and little decisions that lead to the book.”

One former editor, Kayla Grenwis, said Wicke’s way of teaching was “enjoyable and educational,” including things like photo competitions and a ceremony in which the staff “married” the yearbook.

“She constantly reinvents her teaching strategies to best suit the current staff,” said Grenwis, who was recognized as CSMA’s 2021 Middle School Journalist of the Year. “She is also constantly encouraging students to reach their potential because she genuinely knows they are capable.”

Wicke’s students’ work has been recognized at state and national levels for years, including winning an NSPA Pacemaker in 2021. Wicke also presents at numerous workshops throughout the year.

According to Wicke, the final yearbook is important, but the learning that occurs along the way is the real work.

“It is ultimately a vehicle to teach all kinds of important and necessary skills,” said Wicke. “I can’t imagine doing any other job that would feel as important or fulfilling.

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