Yearbook is a class students join because it seems easy. A class that requires nothing too difficult or stressful, the perfect class to sit back and relax, “I thought yearbook would be pretty easy,” says Soph. Elizabeth Rauckhorst. Little do these students know the amount of hard work yearbook demands. What seems like an easygoing and fun class is incredibly difficult and stressful, “I wasn’t expecting to have to go to so many events, I thought it would be an easy way to end my day,” says Rauckhorst.
As a member of the yearbook staff, a student must spend their free time working on spreads, taking pictures at events, and writing detailed paragraphs. On weekends, they can be found at school events taking pictures for hours and interviewing dozens of people to get great coverage. Every day, they devote time to the book to assemble an incredible document of memories. A book they will show their children and grandchildren and reminisce about the wonderful moments of high school.
Jr. Lieza Klemm recalls the most difficult time in yearbook being “last year when we had 200 pages due in two weeks”. She remembers Drnek being incredibly stressed, and working until midnight some nights to finish spreads. Last year’s editor, Hailey Warsaw, spent endless nights perfecting pages and assisting students to finish the book in class, “every day was so chaotic” says Klemm. Also, earlier this year Klemm almost missed a deadline, “I couldn’t find my SD card with my pictures on it and a spread was due that day.” Yearbook causes a lot of anxiety in Klemm’s life, yet she believes “it’s very enjoyable and we have a great time.”
Yearbook supervisor David Drnek describes yearbook as a “real-life experience.” Just like the actual world, “We continue to have issues that arise that we have to deal with on a daily basis and even though that can be stressful we work toward the finished product.” Facing these problems allows students to learn how to operate within a group and work together to achieve a similar goal, which prepares students for the future.
Students are surprised by how difficult it is to create the yearbook, “There’s a lot more to producing the yearbook than taking pictures and attending events,” said Drnek. Most students believe the yearbook staff snaps a couple photos or interviews a few people, but the class involves much more talent: an eye for design, involvement in school activities, time management, patience, and independence. Yearbook students must also be hard-working, balanced, and amiable. “In yearbook, there are eight different objectives and balancing/monitoring that progress is difficult,” said Drnek. There are days before a deadline when students are nervous and stressed wondering if they’ll be able to finish their spread in time or worried about getting enough information and pictures for spreads. Some have experienced mental breakdowns in class because of these issues and must beg Drnek for a deadline extension. Yet there are days filled with fun and laughter. Yearbook offers something new each day; every day is a surprise.
Sr. Mady VanWieren is in her third year of yearbook, she believes “the hardest part of creating the yearbook is making sure we are able to hit all the deadlines”. The most stressful time of the year for students is springtime, when the yearbook is due and there’s still much more work to do, “as we get close to the end of the year we have to make sure we can produce a high-quality product within these time constraints,” VanWieren said.
The key to a successful book is hard work and creativity. Students who are new to Yearbook are surprised by the creativity and talent the class requires. A spread must be perfect to be submitted; therefore, students often receive criticism from Drnek and the yearbook editors. The yearbook staff is very particular about how a page looks; the book must be perfect for the audience. The yearbook staff faces many problems throughout the school year: missed deadlines, unfinished spreads, lack of photos. “Most students don’t know that we work very hard in yearbook,” VanWieren said. Yet, with perseverance and hard work, the staff creates something wonderful.
Producing the yearbook involves a specific group of students, “it’s difficult to become a successful yearbook student because of self-discipline and attendance”, observes Drnek. Successful students are very rare, due to the self-motivation and determination that is required to create a great yearbook. Drnek considers several factors before students are accepted into the class including good attendance and great teacher recommendations. It’s difficult “finding students who are self-motivated… and keeping them moving toward a goal every day,” says Drnek, “those that are organized and can take dynamic issues and changing things and adapt well and be flexible…are the students we’re looking for”.
Though the class is stressful and occasionally overwhelming, it can also be a lot of fun. “yearbook’s really fun but a lot of hard work, if you put in a good effort you will be successful and have a great time!” VanWieren said. Throughout the school year the class becomes a family, by working together and overcoming obstacles together they grow closer and people that were once strangers become their closest friends.