Yearbook staff create 424-page masterpiece

Yearbook staff create 424-page masterpiece
Posted on 03/29/2019
Editor’s note: Each month of the school year, Tahoma asks its teachers and students to place special emphasis on one of the nine Future Ready Skills. Tahoma Matters features examples of how those skills are being taught in classrooms. This month, we’re highlighting Quality Producer (February’s skill) and giving a nod to Responsible Decision-Maker (March).



A yearbook takes nine months to create. With 424 pages of colorful photos and equally colorful copy, students on the Tahoma Yearbook staff work together to build a beautiful, memory-filled tome that they and their fellow Bears will enjoy in the decades ahead. It’s a lot of pressure, and a job they view as both serious and fun.

We’re taking a look at the students behind the camera, in this month’s feature about those who exemplify the Quality Producer skill. Each spring, the yearbook staff submits their finished book in April. Soon after they begin work on the next annual, compiling ideas for themes, features and other elements that make each edition unique.

At the beginning of class this week, students shared out with the group what they would be tackling that day, then got right to work. Senior editor Jesseka Duncan said she and other editors focus on helping their classmates with design, tweaking and refining copy, and using their style guide to help make sure the pages are consistent throughout the book. On Wednesday, Duncan was working on a “Wow” spread, which is meant to add some variety to the book and doesn’t follow the template.

“I like to think that layout is my specialty,” she said. “I like directing people’s eyes in a certain way (through design) and adding infographics and other interesting tidbits.”

Duncan said she and other editors also focus in on the main photos in each spread, helping their classmates by editing pictures in Photoshop or helping them select another photo in some cases. After participating in yearbook since eighth grade and serving as an editor for three years, the 12th-grader said she enjoys helping out and keeping tabs on her peers. The editors also act as a bridge between the two yearbook classes, making sure there is enough communication.

Junior Genevieve Medeiros was working on two pages about Tolo. She said yearbook has taught her about making deadlines, how to conduct a successful interview and -- part of her contribution to quality control -- selecting only the most “captivating” responses to include so that the text is interesting and draws readers’ attention.

“This is one of the few classes where I’m really excited to work on a big project because we know at the end it’s going to look really good,” Medeiros said.

A new element this year was the option for students to select the hue of their yearbook cover when ordering.

“I like the fact that we get to choose the color of the cover so that it makes it more personalized to each person,” said senior Alyssa Olds, who was working on a spread about P.E.

Student buy-in is important to a polished finished product, agreed junior A Jhay Morales Casem. When he created a feature about sophomores, he said he wanted to make sure the finished photos of each student were high quality. “We wanted to make sure they liked it -- you just want to get a good shot,” he added.

The book is created by the two yearbook classes, from cover to cover, teacher Cavin Eggleston said. The 2019 Ki-Ah-Yu will have video enhancements, along with several “Easter Eggs,” or clues that direct the reader to hidden bonus content.

“For the students on staff, I really admire their bravery. There’s no other class where the whole school sees your homework and judges it,” Eggleston said. The student commitment to creating a finished book that the whole school will enjoy is impressive.

“Having that experience is really cool for me. That’s why I enjoy teaching it.”


Responsible Decision-Maker
Five classes at Tahoma Elementary School will participate in “Financial Beginnings” sessions with their teachers and a guest speaker from Columbia Bank next week. The nonprofit financial literacy program teaches skills that help increase a person’s opportunities later in life for home ownership, attending higher education and securing retirement, according to their website.

We’ll be attending several sessions next week to check out these Responsible Decision-Makers, and will share details in an upcoming district newsletter.
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