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One thing that I have to watch carefully with my staff is that the yearbook not turn into a senior scrapbook. The senior editors keep coming up with wonderful ideas, but they don't include underclassmen. The worst idea was when the PTCO sold new hoodies that had "Class of 08--bow down to your elders." The seniors on the yearbook staff thought it would be so amazing to use a picture of some freshmen bowing down to a couple of seniors. I nixed that idea!
The yearbook needs to represent all students and be a chronicle of the school year--trends, fashions, school events, local events, national events, etc.
When I was a yearbook adviser, I stressed to the staff that a yearbook is a publication of journalism and the same rules apply. Cover newsworthy school events, get the story straight, and spell the names right. Really, a yearbook answers the who, what, when, where, why, and how, just as a news story does. In directing these questions to the school year as it progresses, a comprehensive history can be compiled. A yearbook must be accurate because it does become an important historical record. Every school keeps an archive of yearbooks for that reason. Sometimes a yearbook is used to prove someone's identity. They have even been known to become evidence in court hearings.
The first thing we focused on every year as we tried to come up with a theme is: what makes our school unique? What do we have that no one else does? What makes us proud and identifies us as Jaguars? (our mascot). We then made a huge brainstorming list and began to narrow it down from there. The yearbook needs to tell the community and future students who was at the school that year and what they did to make a difference and make it 'their year'. The more events you can cover, the more students you can include the more the yearbook will say. Also, I disagree somewhat with #2. Yes, a yearbook is that year in pictures, but students love to see things they've said in the book too. You may not get every kid on camera but you can snag those kids for quotes and get their names in there.
A yearbook adequately and accurately portrays the year in question, the people of the school (students, teachers, custodians, and other "behind the scenes" types), the fads of the year (price of gas, newest electronics, politics, current events), major school happenings (sports, clubs, freak occurrences--this year, for instance, our school missed 9 days due to an ice storm which knocked out power to some of our students for as long as 45 days, senior superlatives, senior quotes, dedications).
I was a yearbook adviser during 2001. During that time, the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked by terrorists. Our cover was of a patriotic pattern. You may choose your school colors as your cover, original student artwork as the cover, or some other pattern offered by your publisher.
You want to show in pictures who attended school and worked there. You want to include special activities such as sports, clubs, field day, dress-up days etc. You want to include class favorites, prize winners, club members. Use as few words as possible as this is a collection of photos.
Finally, your yearbook publisher may include the "world events" at a small extra charge. We did include that since it was 2001, and our world was rocked by 9/11 events.
When I advised a year book, I always tried to ask two guiding questions: 1) What do people want to see every year? 2) What was unique about this school year? From here, I could derive my third question: How can this yearbook best depict those two things in words and pictures. But do remember this, unlike literature, the yearbook is a picture book- pictures are the things. I would never sacrifice photographs to put in more words. One only needs enough words to remind, not necessarily inform in a yearbook.
I have never been a yearbook advisor but as a teacher I always found yearbooks helpful in getting to know my students at the beginning of the year. I always bought the yearbook and would study it. When I would meet my kids the following year i would already be able to identify most kids and I knew which sports they played or if they were in the band or any special clubs. It helped make the beginning of the year easier for me and the students. I would make sure that the yearbook focused on who was there and what they were doing through the year. You may want to include so about the different trends and fads that occured throughout the year so when students look back at it years from know they can remember how silly they were but make sure to do it in pictures.
I've always stressed capturing the essence of the teen experience in pictures and words in a particualr school community during a particular year. The main reason that schools have trouble selling yearbooks is because they focus on what my daughter used to call the PP's, the popular people. If you do that, you won't sell very many books.
I have been a yearbook advisor for the past several years at my school. Traditionally, I introduce the school with a picture of it and it's mission statement. From there our principal and pastor are introduced, then faculty and staff and then our students. I include sports, special occasions, a dedication page and tribute to our graduating class. I also include candid photos of our school community throughout our everyday routines. Also included are advertisements and special notes to friends, family and classmates. I think students enjoy looking through special moments and occasions, as well as the everyday routine of school.
An yearbook is essentially a book published annually recording the activities, achievements, and other events of an institutions, a country, or any other organization.
However, traditionally many yearbooks do include many other types of information.
I believe one should not try to follow rigid rules or precedents in deciding what should be included a yearbook. I would suggest three criteria for deciding on what should and should not be included in a school yearbook.
- All important and interesting activities and facts about the school including students and staff should be included.
- Some additional important facts about the school even they do not pertain particularly to the particular year. This may include, for example, things like history of the school and future plans.
- Other matters related to school but not strictly part of the school activities may be included if they have significant impact on the school.
- Other important national and international events of interest to students may be included. Such information becomes particularly interesting when compiled and presented by students.
A Yearbook answers the following questions:
1) How do I want to be viewed by my friends?
2) How does the school want to be thought of?
3) What did people accomplish at the school?
4) What were the successes of the school?
5) Who are the people?
6) Who are not?
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