WE’VE ALL SAID IT BEFORE
…and the truth of the mantra still holds
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.
And that’s a good thing. It’s what brings former editors back to visit when they return to town for homecoming or holiday breaks. Their presence is more than a chance for them to encourage your current staff to build on the foundation you’ve established on campus. It’s likely they’ll also share some tips for deadline success, choosing classes, navigating the college application process and life after high school.
But their return also represents a greater understanding of what they achieved during their years with you. While they may occasionally converse with other teachers during their visits or when they see them at school events, it’s less likely they’re texting those former teachers when a college professor mentions a phrase from the yearbook world or when they find an ad that would make a great theme.
Most yearbookers come to understand the importance of the volume they are creating. Hopefully, they’ve embraced the importance of including everyone on campus as many times as possible, rather than over-covering a select few. They find the balance of covering major events and everyday occurrences to capture the year accurately.
As for the other readers, the reality of a yearbook’s value may not sink in for many years. Sure, distribution day is often a campus event. It’s always fun to see yourself and your friends in the book and, in many schools, the tradition of signing yearbooks is alive and well. But greater appreciation is more likely years — or decades — into the future, when a class reunion looms or curiosity sends someone back to those pages to find a specific answer or connect a name to a face.
But at some point, they’ll embrace those volumes that captured these years and be able to remember the people and events that made this year what it was. Add this to your list of goals: Producing a book that both delights readers when it arrives and provides details necessary for the year to live on indefinitely.
Yearbook is both a privilege and a responsibility. Now. And forever.
Ann Akers, MJE
Speaking of forever, she started yearbooking when they counted headlines to fit, printed photos to size and paid extra for cross-gutter bleeds!
Walk into Evan Williams’ classroom at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Indiana, and you might think you’ve walked into a professional journalism office. There’s not a desk to be seen.
A well-trained yearbook staff is a finely tuned machine where everyone chips in to help so that deadlines are met and the book is the best it can be. Done well, it is a true testament to the power of working together as a team.
Other than yearbook sales, the best income source for the yearbook budget is the sale of advertising. In addition to senior parent ads and student friendship ads, the business community tends to be a great supporter of student activities, including yearbook.
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