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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Letter to the Editor
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Experienced editors give new perspective to The Shield

This is the second in a two-part feature following the day in the life of the yearbook editors on The Shield.

For the previous article, read the Nov. 30 article, Yearbook editors dedicate time, display strong leadership.

Unlike school projects that only last a week or two, yearbook is a year-long project that requires a lot of dedication. Motivating your peers to work hard and accomplish tasks can often prove challenging, but the work of the FC yearbook editors shows that it can be done.

Each school year, English teacher and yearbook advisor Molly Sargent selects students who she thinks have what it takes to be yearbook editors. This year she chose Annaleah Madison, ’14, Mikayla Messer, ’14, and senior Bri Graff to be the editors of the yearbook. Compared with last year’s editors, Sargent notes that this year’s are more willing to critique one another to help improve the yearbook.

“They are very different from last year’s editors,” Sargent said. “Every year is different, and last year we had four editors, which was probably too many now that I look back on it. It was hard for them to distribute the work and know who was working on what. They all did a good job, and I know they did their best, but they were all best friends, which made it hard for them to tell each other what to do. Two of this year’s editors are very good friends, but all three of them work together very well and don’t have any compunction about pointing out a page that needs to be redone or something that looks off. They’re all very professional and I like that. They all take yearbook seriously, like it’s a job, not just an activity.”

The theme chosen for this year’s yearbook is “Shine Like Stars,” which Sargent thinks provides students with a good message to look back on throughout the year.

“The idea is that, not only do we want to shine like stars as individuals by doing our best, achieving what we can achieve, and standing out in a crowd, but of course look at the spiritual side to it as well,” Sargent said. “If the Puritans came to America to build a country to shine upon a hill, all of us as believers should shine out to the world. It’s kind of an encouraging word for all the students, as they either graduate or get ready to come back next year, to shine and not settle for less. We all have the capacity within us to shine in our own way.”

Messer was excited to be able to help pick the theme for this year’s yearbook as well as being an editor her junior year.

“We voted on the theme, but the editors pretty much picked it,” Messer said. “People were trying to come up with different themes that seemed like would be too hard. As editors we have experience, like knowing what would be an easy theme, and we thought space would be both doable and interesting.”

Messer has been very involved in school activities throughout high school. As a member of the varsity soccer team and Spanish club, free time is minimal for her. When Madison asked her to join yearbook last school year, she decided to give it a try. Though she initially joined just to be with her friend, she ended up enjoying and learning from the experience.

“Annaleah {Madison} asked me to do it with her, and she?s my best friend, so I said I?d do it,” Messer said. “Then I ended up loving it and gained a lot of skills. Mrs. Sargent has taught me a lot about writing and photography.”

As a result of her work on yearbook, Messer has gained new skills that have helped her with the rest of her schoolwork.

“Working on the yearbook staff has definitely improved my writing skills,” Messer said. “Every page has to have a body copy which is an overview paragraph where you talk like events happened a long time ago even though they just happened. People read the yearbook at the end of the year, so you have to act like it happened a whole year ago. Captions are also complicated sometimes. You have to talk in first person and then change it to third person. It?s just really different from how I’ve ever written before, but it’s interesting. I?ve learned how to take better pictures and format them correctly, like making sure no one?s head, arm, or leg is cut off. You have to learn the right proportions and how to crop images.”

Madison also enjoys being part of the yearbook staff and is happy that her friend joined her. She is honored to have been chosen as an editor as a junior but also notes that being an editor comes with its challenges.

“This is my first year as an editor, and it really is a privalege to be chosen for a leadership position as a junior,” Madison said. “I’ve also heard it looks great on college applications. There is definitely a lot more pressure and responsibility as an editor, but I like the challenge of it.”

Graff initially joined yearbook because of her interest in photography.

“I love photography and enjoy being on computers,” Graff said. “I understand them really well, so I figured that yearbook was a perfect fit for me. Photography has been very important to me these past couple years. Now if I’m going anywhere exciting or think I could capture a great shot, I bring my camera with me.”

Graff has learned many new skills as a result of being part of the yearbook staff and enjoys the advantages that come with her leadership role.

“I’ve learned how to take pictures and edit them by taking out the background to keep the main focus on the object that’s there,” Graff said. “When I write for the yearbook, my grammar has to be perfect, so my writing skills have also improved as a result of yearbook. I’ve learned how to be creative and get my mind to think out of the box. I feel honored to be an editor, because I know it’s a privilege, and I also like that I have a say in the final decision.”

Graff has been part of many sports teams, including volleyball, softball, basketball, and she has also been involved with Book Buddies and Sister to Sister. Sports and activities make Graff busy, which sometimes makes school and yearbook stressful. However, Graff tries to be as productive as she can at school so that she has more time for activities later.

“Managing my time is not easy with sports, homework and yearbook,” Graff said. “It gets stressful sometimes. Usually in class after the teacher is done lecturing and passes out the homework, I try to quickly finish it so that I can have a bit of extra time at home to take a small break and work more on yearbook.”

Sophomore Elise Winegarden, a yearbook staff member, appreciates the editors’ organization and the dedication they have for their job.

“I think they’re very good at what they do,” Winegarden said. “I know that they go over all the pages and are very responsible about all the work that they’ve done. They have a good perspective on the whole yearbook since they’ve already done it before, and they work really hard. We have a big page that tells everyone what they need to do and when the due dates are. They have it very organized, and I really like being part of the yearbook staff. I’m one of the photographers, so I get to take a lot of pictures and work on fewer pages, which I really like.”

For more features, read the Nov. 30 article, Survey provides technology-based information.

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