The judging panel said she “soaked up professionalism” and “could walk into a job in any publishing company in the UK”, 16 year-old Laura Steedman emerged as one of the top winners at this year's Scottish School Magazine Awards, held earlier today in Edinburgh.
Steedman not only took the Outstanding Pupil title at the awards – organised by the Scottish Division of the Periodical Publishers Association – but was part of the team from Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen that netted the most prestigious of the prizes on offer: Magazine of the Year.
Steedman contributed, among other things, Eclectic's cover, which so happened also to take the Best Magazine Cover award at the ceremony held at Our Dynamic Earth and hosted by tennis coach, Judy Murray.
Taking silver in the Magazine of the Year contest was Bac Talk, produced by Boclair Academy in East Dunbartonshire; taking bronze was PS 2010, from the relatively small Paible High School, in North Uist.
Many of the pupils behind the shortlisted entries were among the 250-strong audience. Steedman herself had broken off a school trip to Paris to attend the ceremony, which saw Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, make a second, successive appearance, to lend his support.
There was a bittersweet moment for the pupils at fee-paying independent school, St Margaret's, in Edinburgh. The decision to present its magazine, Viva Vox, with the Chairman's Award had been made some weeks ago, only for the school last week to have gone into administration.
The chair of the judging panel was Fraser Allen, of Edinburgh-based magazine publishing company, White Light Media. He was joined on the panel by, among others, DC Thomson's editorial development manager, Ian Lamb, and magazine designer, Matthew Ball.
The winners' list reads:
Magazine of the Year
Gold: Eclectic, Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen
Silver: Bac Talk, Boclair Academy, East Dunbartonshire
Bronze: PS 2010, Paible High School, North Uist
Best Commercial Strategy
Trinity Times, Trinity High School, Renfrewshire
Best Design and Layout
Bac Talk, Boclair Academy, East Dunbartonshire
Best Editorial Content
The Habit, Kilgraston School, Perth and Kinross
Best Feature Article
Rebecca Kendall, The Locker, Portleithen Academy, Aberdeenshire
Best Magazine Cover
Eclectic, Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen
Best Online Presence
The Lane, Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow
Best Original Artwork or Photography
Rare Beast, Coatbridge High School, North Lanarkshire
Most Inspirational Teacher
Paul Fitzgerald, Fernhill School, South Lanarkshire
Laura Steedman, Eclectic, Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen
Viva Vox, St Margaret's School, Edinburgh