Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Real World--Yearbook?

For those of you who don't know--or might have forgotten--we teach 130 high school journalistas Newspapering and Yearbooking. The Newspaper Kidz have inquiring minds. Short of saying they're smarter than the Yearbook Cherubs, let's just say the Newspaper kiddos are more aware. Yes, Yearbook is a class, and we teach two of them! And while we try to open the Young Minds of some incredibly amazing Yearbookies (yes, we just violated two rules from The Yuck List), the classes, as a whole, are confined by a classic conundrum--clichés.

The trouble with a High School Yearbooks is that they are not what they seem, while at the same time being exactly what one would expect. The reason for this, of course, is that the mostly female Yearbook staff conforms to convention--to a fault. Part of this is because of their Mothers. Mothers of 18-year-olds tend to err on the side of Nostalgia. Wasn't little Sarah sooooooo adorable as a toddler? Remember when little Jimmy walked to school by himself for the first time? Mommy inculcates her Own Personal Cherubs (the girls, anyway) with this annoying penchant for Making Memories. The boys, predictably, could care less.

But the Yearbook Chix are also limited by their view of what a Good High School Yearbook is supposed to be. This perception sets up the perennial struggle between the Adviser (your Intrepid Scribe), who wants to report on the entire school year, bumps and bruises included, and the Chicas, who want a Book of Fond and Fuzzy Memories. Excuse us while we gag.

Along those lines, we've started planning for next year's book. Part of that process involves selecting a theme for the Yearbook--this is a concept that is supposed to appear in everything, from the cover, to the title, to the sections, to both the photo and text coverage. We told our cherubs to look at Yearbooks from other schools--especially Out There in Wild & Wooly California--to find something different, edgy, fun. Out of 48 Yearbookies, about 10 came up with something Fresh. Here are some of the other offerings:

Now or Never
Best Days of Our Lives
Making Memories
Up Close and Personal
Soaring to New Heights
These are the Times to Remember
This is the Start of Something New
Hand in Hand
Picture Perfect
Beating with One Heart

Those of you of a Certain Age will remember Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw in that most sugary of confections, "Love Story." We were in high school back then, and always thought the flick represented all the sentiment of a Yearbook, only with better looking kidz (BTW, did you know that O'Neal is 67 now and McGraw almost 70?). Every year about this time, in between planning for next year's book and waiting for this year's book to hit the stands, we take a moment to sit back and wonder--How did our Cynical Old Self get involved in the Biggest High School Cliché? Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry. But Thanks, anyway, For the Memories!


Kristin said...

Gag is right. I'm sick of the fluffy yearbook themes. I want to hear some of the good ones!

Melissa B. said...

Kristin--We'll update with superior yearbook theme suggestions soon! Thanks for reading.

HappyChyck said...

We have one of those sweet themes this year. It's so inspiring that I can't even remember what it is right now. (I've been blocking yearbook thoughts out for a few weeks now.) Last year my girls came up with UNFOLDING CHAOS as a theme. Sounds cool, right? Yeah, it was a major pain in the arse. Next year our school will open in a new building--and it's our 50th anniversary. Oy! It seems so hopeless already!


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