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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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Yearbook staff reflects on year, goal

As the school year comes to a close, campus students look forward to seeing themselves and their friends in the 2012-2013 edition of The Shield, which was released to the student body at the annual yearbook signing party, May 23 at 10 a.m. in the Peoples Church Student Ministries Center. After having worked on the publication for over eight months, though, the yearbook staff even more excitedly awaited the release of their project.

FC teacher and Yearbook Adviser Molly Sargent says that the idea for this yearbook’s theme came from Philippians 2:14-16: “…you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” According to Sargent, the American culture has gravitated toward celebrity worship and she and the staff wanted to encourage the student body to strive to live for Christ, as His light in believers shines brighter than any limelight. In addition to this, the staff liked the theme of stars and planets, so they decided to go with the analogy.

“We chose ‘Shine Like the Stars’ for this year’s yearbook theme because we liked the idea of the celestial look, the dark-colored background and the brightly colored planets and stars,” Sargent said. “The motif of the book is that we should shine like stars to the world. We’re trying to move away from the celebrity worship that our culture has gotten into in the last couple of years. The true stars are not on the celebrity magazines; the true stars are those who live for Christ.”

Although Sargent has been FC’s yearbook adviser for 20 years now, many of her students were new. She did not have many returning staff members, so she spent the first few months teaching her staff how to use the program and write journalistically rather than expositorily.

“Yearbook’s tough, because every year we start over new, and a lot of times I don’t have too many veterans from the year before,” Sargent said. “It takes them a while to get the hang of it, to get the hang of the computer program, and to learn what kind of writing yearbook requires because it’s different than all other kinds of writing that students learn. This year, because I had fewer students return, there was a learning curve through the end of November, and then the kids started getting the hang of it.”

To maintain quality while allowing the students to learn how to use the program and get their creative juices flowing, the staff first does the class spreads because of their simplicity and then moves on to the rest of the book.

“We always do the mug shots of the classes first because they’re the easiest to do and generally the least creative,” Sargent said. “By the time they get into the next sections that require more creativity, they’ve got it down. There’s nothing wrong with the first spreads, but the further along they’ve gotten in the year, they’ve gotten more creative and by the time the year is over their spreads are amazing.”

The first few months of the school year were a little rough as students were adjusting to writing styles and programs, but Sargent is pleased with the way the yearbook turned out. Even more than that, though, she hopes that the students like this year’s book as they will look back on it in years to come as a reminder of their high school careers.

“I think they’re very proud of the job they did, and it’s really important to me that they be proud of it, whether I like it or not,” Sargent said. “With yearbook, we want to do a good job and I want them to learn the principles of graphic design and good journalistic writing. But it’s more about producing a product that a kid in the school will see himself at least three times in and know that ‘This is my school and I’m so proud of it.'”

Co-editor Annaleah Madison, ’14, was pleased with the staff’s efforts this year and believes that they successfully surpassed yearbooks of previous years in quality and creativity.

“The staff believes that we did the best we’ve ever done this year and it really came together well,” Madison said. “I really hope the students enjoy it. I think it looks the best since I’ve been here {at FC}.”

Madison has been a part of the yearbook staff for two years, but this year was her first time being an editor. With this new position, Madison realized that she had a greater responsibility to the staff, but she enjoyed being able to help create her own yearbook and looks forward to doing the same for her senior year.

“As an editor you take responsibility for it all and you really want to set a good example for the upcoming editors,” Madison said. “”The staff is extremely small so you have to give it your all. I’m planning on doing it next year, because it’s my senior year, and I’d like to be in charge of what our yearbook looks like.”

According to Sargent, the staff’s creativity and program skills developed in great proportions this year, but their pride in being on staff also grew from not a lot at the beginning of the year to claiming an entire corner on the computer lab’s wall for staff pictures and awards.

“By the end of the year, they were so proud of being on yearbook staff, which they were not necessarily at the beginning of the year, that they insisted on putting the staff picture and the awards up,” Sargent said. “I realized that they’re proud of it and they want everyone to be proud of our school’s yearbook too. I’ve never had a group of students come so far in one year. They’re a very good group and I’ve been blessed to be their adviser this year.”

Junior Mikayla Messer, also one of the staff’s editors, enjoyed being in the class because of the creativity it allowed her to develop as well as the opportunity to serve her fellow students by creating a book of high school memories.

“My favorite part of yearbook was probably just that you’re able to be creative and do whatever you want,” Messer said. “There are guidelines, but you can let your creative side out and make it fun. You’re really doing it for the whole school and for the students. It’s kind of like what you can do for them, bringing back all the old memories of what happened during the school year.”

In addition to going to different events to take pictures as a staff, Messer also enjoyed the time the staff had to bond and plan the yearbook signing party as the group finished the yearbook a couple of months early due to deadlines.

“I have the most fun just going out and taking pictures,” Messer said. “Because really, yearbook is pictures. Yes, there are captions to let people who don’t know what was happening in the picture know what it was about. They’re kind of a story to go with the pictures, but the book is mainly pictures, so it was really fun to go out with everyone to all the events and take pictures. It’s also fun because we finish the yearbook two months before school’s actually out, so we get to bond and plan the yearbook party together.”

Because the staff finished the yearbook two months early due to submission deadlines for publication, Sargent introduced a new project to the students: uploading pictures to an Internet database created by Jostens so students can see pictures from events that happen after the submission deadline.

“Jostens, who is our publisher, is offering a new program this year where we can put our pictures that we didn’t put in the yearbook into an electronic folder on their central website,” Sargent said. “That way we can cover things by this picture site in April and May that we couldn’t put in the yearbook. We’re going to go through all of our old pictures that we didn’t use in the yearbook and store them in the archive. Sadies, Powderpuff and graduation will all go in the picture site.”

Sargent encourages students to join the yearbook staff, especially those who are not involved in other extracurricular activities, as it has provided a spot for many students to contribute to the school and learn important people skills as well as graphic design.

“I don’t care about having the smartest kids on this staff and I don’t care about having the most capable kids because they become capable,” Sargent said. “I care about having kids that are willing to try. Sometimes I have kids on the staff who couldn’t really do anything else. They’re not fantastic writers, terrific athletes or great leaders. They’re just an average kid, but they find out when they’re on the staff that this is a niche for them and they’re good at it. That’s why I do yearbook.”

For more information on yearbook, or to join the staff for the 2013-2014 school year, contact Sargent.

This writer can be reached on Twitter at @JennaWeimer42.

For more features, see the May 21 article, Profile on the salutatorian: Jessica Healy.

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