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Yearbook editors dedicate time, display strong leadership

This will be a two-part feature following the day in the life of the yearbook editors on The Shield. Please read part two: Experienced editors give new perspective to The Shield.

At the end of each school year, students anticipate receiving their copies of the school yearbook, but they often disregard the amount of time and work that goes into the finished product. The yearbook is a year-long project that requires the efforts of many hard-working individuals.

Each year, English teacher and yearbook advisor Molly Sargent chooses a few students to be the editors of the yearbook. These students are then faced with the responsibility of managing groups made up of staff members, creating templates, choosing color schemes and fonts for each section, editing and taking countless photos, while also helping staff members and meeting regularly with the other editors.

This year, Sargent chose juniors Mikayla Messer, Annaleah Madison and Bri Graff, ’13, to be the yearbook editors. She selected these students due to their experience with yearbook and genuine interest in the project.

“They are so enthusiastic and committed to producing the best yearbook that we can possibly produce,” Sargent said. “It’s been a lovely year so far. It’s hard sometimes to find students who will really commit themselves to a project and because yearbook is year-long, you really have to find people who are willing to commit and throw their whole heart into it. All three of these girls do that, and I’m very blessed to have them as editors. You want students who are willing to do it without having to pressure them into doing it.”

Messer notes that the skills used to create the yearbook involve hobbies that she had enjoyed before joining the yearbook staff.

“I?ve always liked taking pictures, and I kind of have an artistic side,” Messer said. “I like putting things together, and yearbook is kind of like a puzzle. To design templates, the pictures and captions have to go in certain spots, and everything has to be proportional. There also has to be a certain design that goes throughout the whole book. It’s just fun putting things together and having challenges that you have to overcome.”

Messer enjoys being in charge of something that students look forward to at the end of the year. She likes providing imput and getting to see the yearbook before it’s released to the student body.

“I like getting to see all the pictures and put them in the yearbook before everyone else sees them,” Messer said. “It’s a cool feeling to know that I accomplished something so big and that I’m in charge of the yearbook. It’s kind of on our shoulders whether people like the finished product or not. We won the silver medal last year, and this year we?re pushing for the gold medal. We?re working really hard and hoping that we have what it takes to earn the gold medal.”

Madison has been very involved throughout high school in both athletics and school clubs. She’s been part of the varsity volleyball team since her freshman year, was part of Book Buddies and the varsity soccer team last year, and joined Sister to Sister this year. Madison also enjoys listening to music, reading, and spending time with Messer. Madison initially joined yearbook due to an interest in magazines.

“I love reading magazines and other material and thought yearbook was similar,” Madison said. I thought I’d give it a try, and now reading those magazines really comes in handy.”

Madison also had an interest in photography before joining the yearbook staff and has enjoyed pursuing this hobby as a yearbook editor.

“My mom is a photographer and has been taking pictures ever since I can remember,” Madison said. “I’ve enjoyed learning the skill from her and continue to learn about it in yearbook. The skill that I’ve improved the most at is probably taking quality photos, because we had a couple classes on it last year.”

Along with Messer and Madison, this school year is only Graff’s second year on the yearbook staff. Graff did, however, have previous experience working on yearbook before joining the staff in high school.

“I first did yearbook in junior high just to try it out and really enjoyed it,” Graff said. “However, it was much harder for me to fit yearbook into my high school schedule, so I didn’t join until my junior year. I ended up really loving yearbook, which is why I decided to join for a second year.”

Photography has not only been a hobby for Graff, but also a skill that could be useful in her future careers.

“I’ve been interested in photography and graphic design and used to want to become a fashion designer,” Graff said. “But then I thought about it more and studied more into my career path. I decided that I want to become a forensic scientist and lean toward criminology to eventually become a crime scene analyst. Photography would definitely come into play in that career.”

Though being an editor is a lot of work for Graff, she feels privileged to be in a place of leadership and enjoys the community that has formed with the yearbook staff.

“Last year Mrs. Sargent told me that she could tell I had passion and to keep up the hard work because they needed a new editor to take over next year,” Graff said. “It’s a lot different being an editor than a staff member because we have to meet regularly to make decisions about the yearbook with our instructor. On top of that, we have to guide other members so that they’re doing their job so that we can do ours. Honestly, it’s not just a class. You actually get really close to people because you talk to and work with them on a regular basis. Sometimes you’ll see or take hilarious pictures and can just enjoy a laugh together.”

Each of the editors spends about two hours each day on the yearbook, which can sometimes prove difficult to fit into their schedules. Members of the yearbook staff appreciate their dedication and willingness to help the staff. Senior Nick Baladjanian thinks the editors do a good job of motivating the staff to work hard and enjoys getting to contribute to the yearbook.

“The editors keep everything organized and keep everyone focused on what needs to get done,” Baladjanian said. “We have templates laid out for us and we check to see which pages need to be worked on. There are progress reports that show percentages for each page, and the yearbook editors get on you about what needs to be done. It’s fun being part of the staff, because you get to share your opinion on what goes in the yearbook. I like getting to design pages the way I want them to be designed, which is why I enjoy yearbook.”

Sarah Lim, ’14, also enjoys being part of the yearbook staff under the guidance of the editors. As a first-year staff member, Lim finds the editors to be very helpful and willing to give advice.

“I think the editors are really talented,” Lim said. “They did yearbook last year so they know what they’re doing and are very informative. They stay on task and get a lot of work done so that everyone on the team can get their jobs done. It’s easy for everyone else to follow along because we have strong leaders to look toward for help and advice. It’s really fun to be part of their staff, because we never have a serious moment. It’s still stressful just because we have due dates, but other than that it’s really fun because we’re all friends.”

For more features, read the Nov. 28 article, Part-time teacher advances science department.

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