WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WGHP) — On yearbook day at Meadowlark Middle School, you can almost see the excitement in the air.

You can definitely see it on the faces of the students. That excitement is exactly what the new yearbook advisors, 7th-grade teachers Katie Gioello and Katye Welborn, wanted to see.

“We are such a good team that I just knew we would be able to pull it together. It was a lot of work, a lot of time management, but we worked together as a team. I think it turned out great,” Welborn said.

The “Katies” as they are called, knew it would be challenging to assemble all the sections alone, but they say as teachers, they learned a lot during the process.

“I think the biggest thing was time management and also relying on the other Katie. She has a lot of strengths that I don’t have and vice versa. And so, we really balance each other out,” Gioello said.

They wanted this yearbook to be extra special since it captures the memories of the first full school year after the pandemic.

“We wanted to go along with the theme of this year’s school theme, which is our whole idea of redoing everything from last year,” says Gioello. “And so, we wanted to incorporate this whole idea of, you know, refresh, redo, reimagine,  throughout the text. So, all of the different components and segments of the yearbook contain words that go along with this year’s these so that everything flows together.”

Even their favorite parts went above and beyond what was expected.

“It’s the divider pages for each of the grade levels. I just like the layout of it. I thought it was key and we got to include it. It’s a collage of all the kids or as many kids as we can include to get as many kids included in the yearbook as we could. Cause I know it’s a bummer to get your yearbook and only be in there with your portrait. So we tried to include as many as we could,” Welborn said.

That’s just one of many reasons the yearbook was named a Jostens National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award winner.

Both teachers were surprised.

“I think there was so much that went into this on top of our professional responsibility,” Gioello said. “So being able to receive validation that what we put into it was good and it was recognized and others appreciate it…it was very nice to hear that we were being honored.”

“I’m just happy that our hard work has been acknowledged and validated. So I was really excited to get the award,” Welborn added.

While it sets the standards high for next year, they say they will continue to enjoy this year’s success for as long as they can.