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volume nineteen issue two






I got to know


— seeking the ones that were

NOT OBVIOUS. - Samantha Mote

SAMANTHA MOTE believes the

following to be true: a close community can make you feel very comfortable, great photos can capture amazing stories and being on yearbook teaches lots of life lessons.

Portraits by Jennifer Randolf, Nashville, TN

A student at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, TN since kindergarten, she’s been on the staff of Lion’s Roar yearbook for three years. “As far back as elementary school, I understood that CPA was a close, caring community,” she said, “But I’ve definitely come to appreciate the faculty support and interest even more through the years.” As a senior and head photo editor, she’s in charge of making sure that the events and emotions of the school year are captured in the yearbook for the community. The challenge of coordinating coverage of everything from elementary activities to high school graduation can be daunting, but Samantha created an array of systems to keep equipment, assignments and images organized. She’s generously shared many of her resources; see her story on page six. “It’s been interesting, rewarding and fun,” she said. And it’s taught her a lot about photography, her school and herself. People see her as a leader and a motivator, but Samantha knows there’s more to her success than that. Leading the photo team “proved to me the importance of being open minded,” she said, citing major contributions from a photographer she may have doubted early on. While Samantha doesn’t see herself as a professional photographer, she can imagine using many of her yearbook and leadership skills in her career. Born into a musical family, she considered a music major, but has decided instead to leave more doors open by enrolling at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. After several campus visits and a summer program there where she lived in the dorm, took classes and earned credit, she felt right at home. “I absolutely love it there,” she said. “It’s really friendly and there are so many opportunities.” A recent trip to campus revealed another reason to be excited about going to Lee. “They have a magazine… and I’m excited to become a part of the staff,” she concluded. To learn more, read Samantha’s story on page six.


LAYOUT EDITOR Christian Anzola


Christian Anzola, Jacqueline Faassen, Martha Moye and Erin Wilson


Kathy Habiger, MJE, yearbook adviser Mill Valley HS Shawnee, KS Erinn Harris, CJE, yearbook adviser T. Jefferson HS for Science/Technology Alexandria, VA Thomas J. Kaup, MJE, yearbook adviser Auburn (WA) HS Pete LeBlanc, yearbook adviser Antelope (CA) HS Samantha Mote, photo editor Christ Presbyterian Academy Nashville, TN Linda Puntney, MJE Herff Jones Special Consultant Mitch Zeigler, CJE, yearbook adviser Redondo Union HS Redondo Beach, CA


Melissa Alonso, yearbook adviser Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School Miami, FL Dillon Barker, photo editor Auburn (WA) HS Kathy Habiger, MJE, yearbook adviser Katherine White, newspaper EIC Mill Valley HS Shawnee, KS Matt Mardesich, photo editor Redondo Union HS Redondo Beach, CA Jennifer Randolf, Nashville, TN Staff photographers Chantilly (VA) HS duPont Manual HS, Louisville, KY Yearbook reps Jamie Silver, Hoffman Estates, IL Genie Westfall, Portland, OR


Kansas City, KANSAS Logan, UTAH Montgomery, ALABAMA Winnipeg, CANADA Herff Jones‘ Yearbook Discoveries Volume Nineteen Issue Two was produced electronically using Adobe® InDesign® CC, Adobe Illustrator® CC and Adobe Photoshop® CC. This magazine was created on a Mac Pro, 2.66 GHz with 6 GB of RAM and printed by Herff Jones, LLC, at its Logan, UT printing facility. The cover was printed on White Vibracolor Endsheet stock using four-color process. The magazine itself was printed on 80# matte stock using four-color process inks. The fonts used in this issue were AHJ Alperton and AHJ Function. Herff Jones and the Herff Jones logo are registered trademarks of Herff Jones, Inc. Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc.


volume nineteen issue two


One sure-fire way to improve the story-telling photos in your yearbook is to plan for great coverage. Inspired by ESPN’s Body Issue and instructed by YouTube, this staff wowed readers en masse.

Rather than a precise template that might become redundant, design a typographical identity.


It’s about more than equipment; consider these tips to increase the impact of your photography.


The big day is almost here, and the time to consider delivery events, sneak peeks and distribution is now. Part hands-on training and part senior staff momento, here’s a powerful idea for classtime in weeks to come. Meet four Herff Jones advisers who will be honored by JEA for their work during the upcoming JEA/NSPA convention.

Designed to include more students in the book, the inclusionary device can take on many different looks. How one adviser’s early experience has shaped him — his outlook and his work — for years to come. Scheduling teambuilders and having fun are just as important as training, writing and design skills.


While planning a school-wide yearbook party might seem like a big task, the benefits are many. And there’s help to make it easy to manage!





DISCLAIMER: Though I hope to give you some beneficial tips regarding high-impact photography in your yearbook, there will

be no mention of lenses, f-stops, ISO or shutter speed settings in this article. These, of course, are all of great consequence in composing high-impact photos, but I suggest you do what I do when it comes to purchasing the correct lenses (uberessential) and handling other technical issues. Call or email photo gurus such as Mark Murray, Kathy Daly, Mike Simons and Bradley Wilson with your technical questions. Or you could learn all that stuff yourself, but who has time for that?

duPont Manual High School. Dang you, duPont

Manual High School! It’s books like yours, and Enochs High School and Redondo Union High School, and several others in the yearbook universe that have raised the bar of yearbook photography to new heights. The combination of today’s digital photography cameras, affordable glass (I promised I wouldn’t say the L word), talented advisers, gifted students and unyielding standards have created near-professional quality photos in the top tier of today’s yearbooks.

My own background is in writing and, later, design. However, even after teaching design, it took a couple of years to realize a high-impact photo can save a bad design, but a beautiful design will never cover the warts of inadequate photography. So with that said, and after discussing your technical issues with a photo savant, here are some additional key points worthy of consideration to ensure that your book is filled with high-impact photos. 1. HIGH-IMPACT STUDENTS

Nearly four years have passed since Anna patrolled the campus of Antelope High School with her Canon Rebel. Many photographers have come and gone since then, but I will always miss Anna. When Anna Cheban started in yearbook as a sophomore in our school’s first year of existence during the 2008-09 school year, she possessed a charming personality, a first-rate work ethic and an ability to accept criticism few of her peers possessed. There was one small problem: she was a horrible photographer. For



example, she once shot more than 500 photos at an early season JV football game and not one was publishable for an array of reasons. I’d like to tell you I had something to do with the mindblowing transformation Anna went through during her three years working in S206, but it was all her. Sure, I pointed her in the right direction giving her the basics, but by her senior year, she was teaching me. Our job is to find Anna year after year. I hesitate to go into detail about how to do that, because as advisers we have to be true to our own personalities when we recruit students. However, I would say this: once you identify a couple of Annas in your class, make them feel special; tell them you are going to purchase new equipment, not so much for the program, but for them. I’m not a Dallas Cowboys fan, but I agree with former coach Jimmy Johnson’s philosophy in dealing with players. Don’t be afraid to coddle your superstars. They deserve preferential treatment because they are going to spend so much more time working on the book than an average staff writer. Demand more from them, but make sure they know how special they are. Find your Anna and nurture that relationship. A program without high-impact students would be like a yearbook without photos.

2. BIG PLANNING In working with several schools over the years, I’m amazed at how often there are no in-depth discussions regarding the dominant photo for each spread. More often than not, staffs leave it to chance. Sure, you will get lucky once in awhile, but for consistent

The Crimson, duPont Manual HS, Louisville, KY

For a gallery of more photo-based spreads, go to



high-impact photography throughout the book, planning is a must. The term ”maestro“ is still floating around in the yearbook world. This is a wellintentioned idea to make sure that writers, designers and photographers are working together on each spread. I always joke that they should just call the concept — wait for it — journalism. I don’t know of any other way to do it. It’s a must that all the players are communicating. Often. And meeting. Again. And again. And again. As the old rule goes, the dominant photo should be 67 percent larger than any other element on the page. So put 67 percent of



doing that, the internet is a most valuable resource for photographers as there is so much brainstorming fodder at their fingertips. Of course, they should be using magazines as well. Just as we want our writers and designers to study the pros, photographers need to do the same.

We encourage our writers to read. We want our designers subscribing to magazines and mimicking what the professionals do so they can get inside the heads of those designers. But I still see so many high school photographers just shooting, shooting, shooting, with little concept of what it is they are attempting to capture visually. Encourage your photographers to work as part of the design team mentioned in Tip No. 2. While

By doing this, your photographers will challenge themselves to create unique, high-impact visual images. It will likely get to a point where they will begin making self-discoveries of composition techniques used by the pros. And sadly, they may also discover that their equipment is not meeting the minimum requirements to capture certain content. But if you have done your job

your thought into exactly what you want that image to convey. Don’t leave it to chance. Storyboard potential ideas for photos. But as always, you don’t have to wait for divine intervention; plan to be amazing.


recruiting high-impact students, they will figure out a realistic solution. And who knows? Maybe your budget might allow a call to one of the aforementioned gurus to check on some new equipment options.

4. DON’T BE REDUNDANT So, as we should, we’ve put all that energy into our dominant images. However, don’t forget about the other 33 percent and your secondary photo packages. Despite the fact that we have become so advanced technologically, a basic problem still plagues even some of the best books: photo redundancy. A dedicated staff is required to overcome this disease. Again, it takes planning and meetings, and more. Photographers, including the ones at my school, need training to create a variety of photos not only in composition technique, but in content as well. They need to look for several different parts of the story to find equally variant images. For example, take the cross country spread. There’s the photo at the starting line of the group of runners and then the same photo of five different runners in the same running position. Photographers need to see all parts of the story. While we can’t have five close-up photos of a runner tying her shoes prior to a race, one might play well in conjunction with other photos on the spread.

5. INVOLVE YOUR SUBJECTS I advised the Epic yearbook at Center High School from 1993-2007. We built a culture on campus during that time where students learned to not look into the camera when yearbook photographers were out shooting pictures. Even those center-of-attention hounds figured it out. But these days — perhaps it’s the selfie-culture we live in — my photographers struggle with their subjects; we laugh at many of the photos they return with that quickly get deleted because student subjects can’t help themselves and look directly into the camera. Teenage photographers need constant encouragement and practice in dealing with their subjects. I like them to explain to their subjects exactly what the idea is for the photo and design. It’s important to get buy-in from the subjects of our yearbook photography. If it’s an environmental portrait, for example, we want the subject to be excited. The more they know, the more likely they’ll be to help. If it’s a candid moment, explain as much as you can while still capturing the real moment. I know I might get some arguments from purists, but there are many professionals out there who have no problem asking a subject “to do that again.” Interaction with your subjects can only increase the odds of creating a high-impact image.

Pilot, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, CA


A generous head photography editor details her system for by Samantha Mote organizing a photography staff.

A YEARBOOK STAFF without an organized system is chaotic and untimely. My system creates a friendly, well-ordered environment that ensures each assignment is done on time and maintains the best quality. Organization is Key In order to keep the cameras organized, I label each body and lens with a number. Photographers sign them out when taking the camera off campus to an after-school event. This keeps photographers accountable for the equipment.

Create a Central Hub In our classroom, there is a board reserved just for photographers. It has a calendar, which has every after-school event on it. The board has each photographer’s name on it. Their assignments are found under their name on a photo slip. This form lists the photographer, the date assigned, when the photos need to be taken and what and where the assignment is. Editors fill out the photo slips, give them to me and I assign them among the photographers. After the photographer completes the assignment,

they upload and edit photos through Lightroom and then upload them on the server in the correct spot.

Make Expectations Clear At the beginning of the year, the photographers are given a manual that explains expectations throughout the year. It details how they are graded on the quality of the photos, the effort put into taking the photos, their attitude and getting the assignment done on time. I give out one grade per week for participation and another grade at the end of each deadline.

Build Up Your Staff It is very important to keep your staff motivated, so I pick my favorite image from each month to be displayed internally and featured as Photo of the Month.

Most importantly, keep in mind that, as a photography editor, you set the tone for the year. If you have a great attitude about the year, your book will be the best it can be. If you don’t have a good attitude, your photographers will lose interest in what they are doing and their attitude will show through in their photos.



For easy-to-use forms like Mote created, go to



One of the aspects that separates




Whether it’s natural lighting or acquired equipment, knowing some basic principles makes all the difference.

For a gallery of great shots and lighting tips, go to



Pilot, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, CA (Right) A three-spread package presented 10 examples of phenomenal photos shot with highly strategic lighting techniques. The heading, “We’ll Show You What’s Underneath” piques interest as the photos focus on the athletes' bodies, rather than their uniforms, and the shadows they create.

I broached the topic of the body issue with my editors, pointing out that such photographs would go well with our theme of “We’ll Show You How It’s Done.” We already owned strobes, pocket wizards and soft boxes, and our photo editor, Matt Mardesich, jumped at the opportunity to create the images. After doing his research on lighting, via YouTube videos, Matt recommended that we buy two strip boxes, a beauty dish (for softer lighting) and a battery so we could shoot on location. Matt set up each shot at night in order to have a dark background. The basic set-up used two or three strobes, with one or two strip boxes positioned behind the subject, as well as off to the sides, and the strobe with the reflective beauty dish in front of the subject.

Photos by Matt Mardesich, Redondo Union HS

LAST YEAR, my staff experienced a harmonic convergence of theme, equipment and vision.

Sometimes the best ideas take years to germinate and require a combination of desire and expertise to become reality. For awhile, I had been intrigued by the idea of content that featured the athletic body. Then, ESPN’s Body Issue became an annual highlight and we decided the idea deserved more consideration. The photographers here were beginning to make a name for our program, and we were thinking about ways to extend ourselves. The students never quite felt comfortable with boys without shirts and girls in sports bras, and we never had the technical know-how with lighting.

The strip boxes provided a narrow strip of light that intentionally wrapped around the edge of the subject, making the athlete pop from the background. The shutter speed was 1/250, but the short duration of the strobe meant that we could precisely capture the athlete’s motion. Of course, it does not take fancy equipment to take great portraits. Use light from windows and shade to get great skin tones and eyes. Position the subject so there is a catch light in the eyes. If you want to get a little fancier, purchase a diffuser/reflector set, which will give you more flexibility since you can shoot in the middle of a sunny day and still light your subject well. While there are all kinds of lighting accessories a staff can purchase, the best first step is to experiment with different kinds of lighting, noting effects and working to achieve desired results. Then you can think about other equipment that would raise your game.



Starting to imagine goals for the 2016 book? I’ll toss one into the mix.

Your book would be better if you worked to

RAISE THE BAR in terms of headline design. by Paul Ender

WHILE IT’S IMPORTANT to have some style

After the fonts have been chosen, the work continues. And, truly, this is where I feel like staffs sometimes accept work of a lower caliber than they should.

Once you’ve selected a unifier and a verbal voice for the volume, you can start to imagine font choices that will add to the message. The tone promoted by the font should be consistent with the unifying verbal message. While that seems obvious, it’s amazing how many staffs seem to forget this when it’s time to choose their fonts.

You need inspiration for your headline packages.

guides for your headlines, it’s more important to heed advice about content driven design and avoiding visual redundancy.

There are several schools of thought that you might employ in selecting your fonts. Some staffs choose a single font for use throughout. The most important thing to consider if you’re headed in this direction is the available variations. You’ll increase your options by finding a font that has as many forms as possible. Rather than simply medium, bold and italic, seek the font that has the greatest number of weights and widths. Some families also include outline or inline versions that provide even more variety. Or, you might choose a pair of fonts each offering an array of variations in weight and width that would be used in tandem throughout. Some staffs that follow this plan choose a neutral font for text and some headline components and an accent font that shows lots of personality. A third plan allows for selection of multiple fonts that can be used to show different personalities or to introduce various types of stories. Obviously, this plan presents the most opportunites for type issues, but as your level of sophistication in type design increases, you’ll be more effective in making choices such as these.



Research online or flip through magazines to see how professionals are using text in different fonts, sizes, emphases, widths, colors, opacities, etc. to build packages with distinct main and secondary messaging components. Pay attention to the formats. The main headline generally serves to attract readers to the spread and can command additional attention when it creates a visual/verbal link to the dominant photo. In the best publications, the secondary units are filled with details that are very specific to the spread and to the year.

There’s a reason why type design lessons include mention of contrast in size and weight. When you find a publication with great headlines, you can be sure there’s been significant energy invested in achieving true hierarchy, the perfect standards for leading, and other details. Great books will present headlines that are different from section to section, while feeling cohesive enough to create a unified book. At their most sophisticated, headline plans will guarantee visual variety by providing some standards to create an identity, while suggesting that the content dictate the varied designs. As the words change, the headlines will vary within the constructs of the plan. Attention to detail in headlining definitely pays off.

Wingspan, James Enochs HS, Modesto, CA With both serif and sans serif fonts — ­ and the type-asart headline format — a contemporary, identifiable but flexible pattern was established for use throughout the book. Rampages, Casa Roble HS, Orangevale, CA A single but expansive type family allowed the design team to utilize different weights and emphases to create distinctive headline styles for each traditional section of the book. Hawk, Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX Though the modern sans and a stylized serif were used consistently throughout, there were lots of options created by varying position of the headline elements, alignment, capitalization and other variables.



Golden Images, Chaparral HS, Parker, CO The traditional ACD spans the bottom margin of both theme and coverage spreads adding six quotes per spread. In all, 930 students were included through the device.

”Give your staff the FREEDOM TO INNOVATE.

Hawk, Pleasant Grove HS, Texarkana, TX With the theme “What goes around,” it only makes sense that a continuing story trails across the bottom margin. Filled with lots of year-specific details, the continuing narrative identified 227 students by name and involved many others by referencing events that the baseball team, Student Council, Keyettes, drill team and other school groups will remember.


For a gallery of inclusionary coverage devices, go to



It’s what makes this the


The evolving role of


the popularity of the six-word story. Tweet a reaction or report in 140 characters or less. When “selfie” was named 2013 word of the year, schools crowd-sourced content and added photographs. ACDs were no longer limited solely to words; now staffs could include more students AND more pictures.

AN EVER-PRESENT QUESTION for yearbook staffs

across the country: How do we get more students in the book? A few years ago, intrepid staffs found the answer with the all-book coverage device. You might hear these referred to as ABCDs, ACDs (no B, due to the hyphen) or inclusionary devices. Though the names vary, the intent remains the same. The best ACDs link to theme, using content to help tell the story of the year. In this way, the ACD not only serves as an inclusionary device, but also a way to develop the theme. Ask a theme-based question. Capitalize on

Despite all the advantages, I couldn’t convince my students to attempt an ACD. They were afraid it would limit design choices and create content redundancies. However, this year I asked them a simple question: why not change the rules? Let’s put the ACD on the cover, endsheets, title page and every page in the book. Why not allow content to break the ACD? Want a picture to bleed? The ACD can go on either side. Let’s use it to develop the theme, AND connect content to the spread topic. Let’s shake it up visually, too. Mug shots, candids, cut-outs, infographics? Bring it on.

The greatest thing about yearbooks is that they’re always changing. All-book coverage devices include more students, but that’s no longer their sole purpose. They simultaneously help tell the story of the year, keep staffs on message, create visual variety, and include more students. Give your staff the freedom to innovate. Break the rules. It’s what makes this the best job in the world. Summit, Smoky Hill MS, Aurora, CO A theme-related ACD with images formed a fun timeline and added nearly 500 more students’ faces.




What they say about hindsight is true.





by Thomas J. Kaup, MJE

I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE my first year of advising. I trusted the staff I had inherited to choose all content without review. Since they did not have any commitment to my advising the program, they worked diligently to include anything and everything salacious that they could. They succeeded. That next fall, the principal decided not to distribute the yearbook. She saved my career. School board members had to sneak into a member’s car to see one of two copies of the terrible tome. The other copy rested in my safety deposit box in case of a lawsuit. My expected termination was postponed for a year of probation. Quoth the raven and adviser, “Nevermore.” That experience led to prior review and prior restraint and taught me a valuable lesson. Since then I have been trying to find the right balance between being an adviser and being a dictator. After 21 years, I try to follow the following four absolutes.

Absolute One:

Select the Editor-in-Chief yourself. I make no bones about the fact that this is my decision, and mine alone. One of my best EICs came from outside the yearbook team, a ringer I brought in when I took over another program. Only choose an EIC you trust without question. Otherwise you have to become the de facto EIC.

Absolute Two:

Do not settle for anything but the best. Every poster, every bulletin announcement, every single thing that leaves the yearbook room must be professional and correct, reflecting the best your students can do.

Absolute Three:

Establish a journalism symbol. We had lapel pins professionally made with a redesigned mascot created by a journalism student. All new members of our journalism family get “pinned.”

Absolute Four:

Recognize where your students and staff come from. Many of my students work after school, do not have a car, nor the computers, cameras or other extras some other staffs have. That’s OK. Like I learned back on the farm in Nebraska, we make do with what we have. We are Trojan Journalism and we're proud to be exactly who we are. We show that pride in everything we do and wear it on our sleeves. Well, to be exact, our lapels. But so far no one has had to sneak into a school board member’s car for a covert look at another yearbook I have advised. Quoth the adviser, “Nevermore.”


19 15

She named it

OPERATION EGG SHELL Photos by Kathy Habiger, MJE, and Katherine White, Mill Valley HS

by Kathy Habiger, MJE

For more team-building resources, go to



FUN FOOD Food is a huge motivator for journalism kids; we celebrate with a cookie for every deadline we meet. SELFIES The selfie scavenger hunt was a huge hit last semester. Each group had a list of places around school or people (like the school resource officer) to get a selfie with. WHITE ELEPHANT The annual gift exchange brings out a lot of creativity and is the most popular activity we do. QUOTE BUCKET If you say something stupid/funny/silly, it may just end up in the year-end video or the staff ad.

IN AN ATTEMPT to get that one quiet staff member to come out of his “shell,” junior Jena Smith, a second-year staff member, decided she needed to break the ice with sophomore first-year staff member Braden Shaw. And thanks to a series of staff bonding activities and her own willingness to help a guy out, it worked. “I knew he talked. I had seen him the hallways talking to friends, so I knew he wasn’t that shy,” Smith said. Smith and two other staff members made it their “personal mission” to make Shaw more comfortable. They invited him places outside of school, made a point to talk to him in class and in the hallway and included him in publications-related discussions. They were also in groups together completing various team-building activities throughout the first quarter. Now, Shaw contributes regularly in class more and cracks jokes with other staff members. The shell has been broken. Smith said the lesson she learned from her “operation” was not to underestimate the power of making sure people feel included. “The quiet kid in class isn’t always quiet. He might just be uncomfortable. And you have to go out of your way to make sure that’s not the case,” Smith said. There are lots of ways of making everyone on your staff feel comfortable, of course. Team-building activities are a great start. Helping kids get to know each other through structured, fun activities brings the staff together. At the start of the year, it breaks through the awkwardness between new or young staff members and the returning or older staff members. Later, the activities serve to help them get to know each other better. And at the end of the year, the photos and

other memories of those activities should be shared to demonstrate just how much of a family has been created. Yearbook EIC Hanna Steen said she wanted to make team building a priority during her senior year because she wanted to build trust among the staff members. “I can remember when I was a sophomore. I was totally afraid of the senior editors so I never asked them questions. I knew that if I became editor, I didn’t want the new staff to feel that way,” Steen said. “I wanted the new staff to remember that the editors are staff members too, just like them.” Both of my publications staffs at Mill Valley have made several team-building activities a tradition over the years. The first is starting the year by dividing the staff into what we call Mentor Groups comprised of returning and new staff members. The EICs take great care in creating the groups to ensure a mix of quiet and outgoing students. One group member, usually a senior or a junior with an editoral position, is named the leader of the group in all planned activities. The leader is in charge of teaching the new staff members “the ropes,” which would include everything from how to save photos correctly to how to edit stories and captions. Throughout the year, the EICs will organize short, fun activities during class or late night work sessions for the group to complete. Newspaper EIC Katherine White said the small group activities helped the new staff feel more comfortable together. “Once we did a few fun things together, the staff felt more open to asking questions because they know me better. The small groups made everyone feel a part of the group,” White said.

Another tradition for the yearbook staff is the Q&A dinner activity. As the staff eats dinner during their late night work sessions, one person floats the question of the night and then everyone shares their answers. Typical questions leave room for different answers and don’t make you think too hard: “Most awkward middle school moment,” “Babysitting horror stories,” and “Worst food experience” are examples. Steen said that although it makes the dinner hour longer, the activity does more to unite the staff than simply eating quickly and heading back to the computers to work. “I like that you learn about others in these kinds of activities. You learn there’s more depth to people than you might have originally thought,” Steen said. Perhaps the biggest and most memorable team building activity is the annual White Elephant Gift Exchange, held at the end of the first semester. Everyone brings a slightly used or homemade gift to share. Most gifts have a story behind them or are so awful they are awesome. This is the most popular activity we do all semester as the kids plan for weeks to bring the best gift. White sees activities like these as the glue that holds the staff together, whether they take minutes or hours to complete. “The staff works better when there’s more communication,” White said. “And bonding activities help develop that communication between staff members.”



File/submitted photos courtesy of Herff Jones advisers and sales representatives 1






1. Staffers at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, FL pop the cork to celebrate the arrival of their yearbook. They share a first look before distributing the book. 2. An all-school signing party at St. Peter Lutheran School in Arlington Heights, IL makes for an exciting distribution. 3. Audrey Lee and Chloe Reum, editors at the Latin School of Chicago, get a sneak peek at the Editors’ Party on the day before distribution. The yearbook staff gathers after school to spend some time looking at the yearbook before returning the volumes to their shipping cartons. 4. Caroline Meinzenbach and

22 18

Abby Bamburg, staffers at Blue Valley HS in Stillwell, KS, help unload boxes of yearbooks. Since it won’t fit through the door, the pallet is set right outside the yearbook room. Later, seniors get their books at the class picnic. Lunch is served and they all sit on the floor and sign each other’s books. Staffers say seeing their hard work pay off is one of the best moments. 5. The best day of the year at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School in Miami, FL is when the yearbooks are distributed. 6. Games, activities and the new yearbook make for a day of memories at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School.


It’s 2015. Yearbook distribution is just around the corner. You’ve worked hard creating that personalized history of the school and its students. Now, it’s time to take a cue from Kool and the Gang and



year long. The moment the theme became real and not just an abstract problem. The Thanksgiving or work night dinner you shared as a staff. The deadline you thought you would never make, but together you made it happen and together you punched the “send” button. Going bowling and then accepting the ice bucket challenge as a staff. Using social media to successfully give the yearbook an extra dimension. Every staff has its own good-times moments, but the one we all should share is the celebration when yearbooks arrive for distribution. Even in 1980, Kool and the Gang had the perfect recipe for the 2015 yearbook distribution.

“There’s a party goin’ on right here A celebration to last throughout the years So bring your good times and your laughter, too We gonna celebrate your party [year] with you…” Make distribution a moment — an event not soon to be forgotten. The story in the yearbook is forever, so why not make its debut a celebration to be remembered for years? At Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, KS, adviser Michelle Wilmes Huss sees distribution as the ultimate reward for the staff. “It’s just such an awesome way to see all of their long hours of dedication pay off,” Wilmes Huss said. “For those on staff, it’s a

by Linda Puntney, MJE

labor of love (and maybe a little hate sometimes!) but it’s just great to see everyone else enjoying their efforts.” At the Latin School of Chicago, yearbook distribution is an allschool event where the theme, cover and other special aspects of the book are revealed for the first time. Betty Lark Ross, adviser, sees the event as a unifying end-of-the-year moment. “We host an all-school assembly on the last day of classes,” Ross said. “We recognize all the editors. We also give flowers and thank our Head of School and Upper School Director for their support and a great year. Then we dismiss the assembly by grade into the gym for a 50-minute yearbook distribution and signing party. It’s a fun way to end the year with everyone lying on the gym floor signing books and listening to tunes together.” Yearbooks have been distributed in a variety of ways. One school loaded the books on a fire truck and drove them, sirens screaming, through town before going to the school. Another distributed books off the back of an 18-wheeler with a local radio station broadcasting a live remote to create a party atmosphere and draw attention to the event. The best distributions, as you’ll see in these pictures and captions, are the ones celebrating the hard work of the staff and the amazing story of the student body. Ones Kool and the Gang might have been singing about 35 years ago.

“It’s time to come together. It’s up to you. Celebrate good times. Come on.”



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Photos by Genie Westfall, Sales Representative


GOOD FOR EVERYONE AS AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER, Beth Zilk knew lots about students even though she knew nothing about yearbook when she became the adviser. Her staff worked hard to produce a book that their peers would love and she wanted them to see the whole school appreciating their efforts. What started as a small event on campus at Mountain View HS in Bend, OR six years ago has evolved into a major happening that staff and students look forward to. It’s fun and they distribute nearly all of their yearbooks in one afternoon.

There’s a DJ on hand to provide music and the local Army National Guard sets up some equipment that provides active alternatives but, mostly, groups of friends gather to peruse and sign their new yearbooks.

The yearbook staff charges students a small admission fee, and local businesses and organizations that provide concessions donate a percentage of their proceeds to the event, providing even more fundraising power.

Through the years, Zilk has created systems that allow her to effectively manage both the event efficiently and guide her staff through the process. And she’s generously sharing pointers and tips with others.

For extra tips and checklists, go to



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LIFE IN THE STAFFROOM is different once the production and proofing cycles end. Some staffs create supplements which continues the daily routines required to cover the events of the year. Some plan distribution day events and year-end celebrations. Other groups begin work in training, theme development and more. At Chantilly (VA) HS, the staff divides. Seniors handle contest and critique submissions for the book they’re awaiting. They write the editors’ letters for their exchange books, complete explanations for judges and prepare digital archives of their work. Those about to graduate, according to adviser Mary Kay Downes, work to make sure their senior volume is visible in the yearbook community and post-publication deadlines are met. The returning staffers have an entirely different plan of action. They need to prepare for their upcoming roles as designers and editors. They’ve been involved all year, so they’ve been part of the planning, research and writing processes. They’ve taken photos and completed spreads. But they may not have the experience in either design or InDesign that they’ll need to be leaders the following year. And it’s time for

Photos provided by Chantilly HS



the next set of EICs to get their feet wet. The Odyssey staff has a project that meets those goals and provides an added benefit. A mini yearbook with the same theme as the book that will arrive in a matter of weeks becomes a parting gift to the outgoing senior staffers. While the entire process takes about a month, it is flexible so it conveniently takes place during a period when the schedule is routinely interrupted by AP exams and other end-of-year testing. After three volumes of the senior book, Downes and 2015 editors Stephanie Dugan and Rachel Palmer can’t think of a better way to end the year. “Beyond the great learning experience, it is the perfect way to honor the seniors for all of their hard work on the yearbook,” explained Duggan. “They each get a personal spread and they are always excited to read the stories and look at those photos on their very last day of high school.” “It’s so rewarding when we see how they react,” added Palmer. “There’s a lot of excitement and then it finally hits them they are leaving. Many emotional goodbyes follow.” “For both the underclassmen and the seniors,” said Downes, “it really is the perfect way to end the year.”

MIXED EMOTIONS From surprise, joy and pride to a range of nostalgic emotions, senior staffers from the class of 2014 enjoy their small books as they prepare to leave Room 229 for the last time.

Odyssey, Chantilly (VA) HS Modeled after the wholeschool edition, the senior-only staff small books use the style palettes and sectional guides to create personal pages for each senior on staff. The cover and other theme pages are adapted to have messages more fitting to the yearbook staff than the entire school community.




SUCCESS Four Herff Jones advisers will be among the honorees at the Saturday adviser luncheon sponsored by Herff Jones during April’s JEA/NSPA Spring National HS Journalism Convention in Denver.

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Brighton (CO) HS Special Recognition Adviser


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Avon (IN) HS Rising Star Winner


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Annie Gorenstein Arvada (CO) West HS Rising Star Winner

IMPORTANT THAT'S and fun in the now, BUT WE NEVER know how meaningful it may become IN THE FUTURE. - Steve Hanf, Rising Star

For quick profiles of these award-winning advisers, go to




Steve Hanf

R.J. Reynolds HS, Winston-Salem (NC) Rising Star Winner * To see an example that brings Hanf’s quote into perspective, go to


Imagine a cover where every idea was possible. Brilliant opaque inks on dark covers? Intricate designs with tiny type and overlapping elements? Full-color images on base materials you’ve only dreamed of? Yes, yes and yes. This Herff Jones-only cover application combines the versatility of full-color printing with the rich textures of an array of base materials to create the cover of your dreams.



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Create a sense of community and celebrate the year together. To make planning, promoting and presenting a yearbook party fun and easy, use our event guide, checklists, templates and more. These eye-catching, themed promotional materials are available for purchase at

VISIT OUR DIY FOR YBK BOARD ON PINTEREST Hang this in your staff room to count down the days until deadlines, yearbook delivery day or distribution. Laminate to use dry erase markers or adhere a stack of Post-its® to the center.