Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time to Catch Some ZZZZZZzzzzzzzs A High School Yearbook is an odd beast. We googled the History of the High School Yearbook and found, predictably, that the tradition started out as a primitive form of scrapbooking in the 1600s, with the first official college "yearbook" published at Yale in 1806. This photo album evolved into the "modern day" yearbook, first published in 1880 with the invention of the Letterpress Process and halftones (credit here, please). High schools apparently got into the act around 1920, branching out to cover the whole school, not just seniors. When We Were Very Young (circa the 70s), the Yearbook was called the Annual and the volunteer staff met periodically to slap something into a more formal, bound edition--lots of pixes, mostly B&W, very few captions, 8x10 pixes for superlatives, etc. (well, we are Texas High School Graduates, after all).

Today, things are a tad different. OHHS offers Yearbook as a class for credit--we teach two sections of it, with 48 kids total this year; our Yearbook this year is in ALL COLOR; the book features stories, as well as pixes, about teams, activities, students, you name it; parents invest thousands of dollars (about $28,000 total this year alone) to honor their cherubs in the back of the book with senior ads, and our budget (which includes the purchase of digital camera and computer equipment) hovers around $100,000 a year. We sell the yearbook online during the course of the school year for $65 a copy, with a percentage of that going to the company that does the sales for us; we will sell what copies remain (about 350) after school in May for $70 each, with no middle man to pay. That's Pure Profit--in fact, Obscene Profit--you do the math. And, predictably, we'll sell out.
One thing hasn't changed, though, in all these years. The Yearbook is a book, therefore has to go to press early. Our final deadline was at the end of March, and we're finishing up with proofs this week. That means it's hard for us to be too newsy in our spring coverage, and there's lots of time--two-and-a-half months, but who's counting?--for the staff to mess around.

We are not inferring that our Yearbook Cherubs are Slackers--God forbid! They are creative, hardworking souls, up to a point. That point being Spring Break, when everyone gets lazy and starts to Think Summer. Assignments drop off, and everyone starts to count down the days to the end of the production cycle. And they spend a lot of time sleeping--Remember our Tasteful Striped Couch?. Please take a gander at the above Cherubs. Nick Needed a Nap, and Grace Needed to Make Fun of Nick. Please note that Lauren, pictured at right, still feels compelled to correct proofs--but She's Trying Out to Be Next Year's Editor, natch (are we a tad cynical?). The Cherubs Strategically Positioned at Computers Around the Room are checking out prom dresses online. Ah, the silliness of youth!

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