High School Yearbook
By Amanda, age 17, Kentucky
The high school yearbook. At every high school it's one of the most anticipated times of the year. How many times have you flipped furiously from cover to cover scanning each page, commenting on the pictures of your friends, laughing at people who aren't so photogenic? But have you noticed the layout? The design? Color combinations? Font choices?
I don't think many people realize how much work truly goes into a book that gets written all over and then lies dormant on a bookshelf. Yearbook is so important at my school it's even an elective class. Our yearbook staff is made up of 31 students and one advisor. There are editors, photographers, designers, and general staffers. We, as the students, choose what stories from the year make it into that year's book and which ones don't. We get help from our advisor, but when it comes down to it, it's truly our call.
Our yearbook staff has been working since the end of last school year, thinking of themes, layouts, and what our coverage is going to be. Once school started we were ready to go, and we began assigning people to stories and spreads. In September when we were all together as a staff for the first time it was kind of awkward because it required us to work alongside people we didn't know.
I went into this class knowing a few of the other staff members, but at the same time I felt as though I knew no one. It was hard to overcome my first impressions of people, but as I began to spend every Wednesday night working with them we became friends. Our Wednesday work nights are not only about our work; we also bond a lot. When you spend every other day and Wednesdays until eight you get to know people very well. I'm sure our mini-dance parties help us laugh and have a good time with each other while relieving stress, leaving us recharged to work some more.
Even though yearbook is a lot of fun, it's a lot of hard work. As a photographer I have to go to many different sporting and social events and take pictures. Since I don't have my own car I often have to borrow a car or rely on my mom to take me someplace. Occasionally I have to take the bus. Even though it can often be frustrating getting a last second call about an event, it's well worth it because of the great experience I get, and it's fun to be right on the sidelines with our team as we score a touchdown or make a basket.
You probably didn't know this, but yearbooks throughout the country compete against one another to see which staff has created the best design, and who has covered the year in a way that will be memorable to a person looking back at their yearbook. Judges base their decisions on design in part on how the design and layout fit with the theme of the book. They judge our color, font, and picture choices, and they critique the writing, picking it apart to make sure it's a decent piece of journalism.
Our yearbook from last year has won many honors, and this year we have a real chance to take home some of the top prizes. It's truly amazing to see a year's worth of work get national recognition.