It’s a Small World
The magic of yearbook lives on.
We all know the traditional functions of a yearbook. Of course, it’s a memory book, a history book and the year’s consummate photo album. Without a doubt, it serves as a record and a reference tool, too.
We’ve asked, “If it’s not in the book, did it even really happen?” so often that students begin to echo as soon as we begin speaking.
But one of the lesser-discussed YBK impacts is perhaps the most amazing. It’s not uncommon to hear an adviser say a yearbook is magic.
A long-time guru said it best with this:
“If you’re covering the year right,” Col. Charles Savedge would say, “the yearbook is as magical as Mickey’s kingdom. There — no matter whether you’re 4 or 24 or 64 — you’re always a child. Yearbook is just the same,” he’d continue. “When you open that book, you’re right back on campus in the coverage year… if you’re doing it right.”
So true. But there’s another aspect of the magic that’s less obvious and so much more mind-boggling.
Yearbook — not the book itself but the culture — actually makes the world smaller every day.
I recently experienced this (again!) myself. In a completely non-work situation, I mentioned my work with Herff Jones and yearbook staffs from coast to coast. “No way,” gushed the woman across the table. “I am the original yearbook girl.”
And while the others looked on, puzzled, she launched into her YBK history. Suddenly, we were connected and had lots to discuss. You can find Patricia’s story on page 23, alongside stories of other former editors.
It’s common at college media conventions to meet former high school staffers who fondly recall their experiences. Many times, the conversations begin when our booth swag causes flashbacks to previous events or workshops. Often, those visits end with a text to a former adviser or rep with greetings and “thanks for all you taught me.”
A few weeks back, a friend called with another world-shrinking-via-yearbook story. While at a wedding in Tampa, he’d been introduced to the groom’s cousin, a high school volleyball coach from North Carolina. His litany of questions about her school made her ask how he knew about so many schools in so many places. He explained he’d worked with yearbook staffs for years. Guess what? Jill was on yearbook in high school. Where, he asked? Colorado. What school? Overland. Imagine her surprise when he said, “I know Kathy Daly, too.”
The fact that another wedding guest knew Daly, a long-time HJ adviser and special consultant, was surprising to the former yearbook editor’s mother.
No surprise: Yearbook constantly removes degrees of separation.
And I love that. It makes me smile that yearbook and yearbookers matter — even years later.
Ann Akers, MJE
A yearbook marketing, sales and people-person, Akers believes that yearbookers everywhere can eliminate degrees of separation if they ask the right questions.
If you’ve been a yearbooker very long, you’ve probably been in a conversation — or 15 —about how yearbook is forever.
You’ve likely preached it as you work with newbies — and when you’re reminding experienced staffers they can do better. Your mantra about creating the only permanent record of the school year probably echoes in the heads of staffers every time they recall their yearbook experiences.
A carefully crafted policy can make a difficult time a little bit easier for you and your staff and may even provide some comfort to a grieving family and community.
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