Every year about this time, I wonder what I'm doing here. Let me explain.
I'm about to put my 17th high school yearbook (as an adult adviser, not a student!) to bed. As in finito, out the door, see ya when you come back all prettied up at the end of May, when screaming throngs descend on Room 215 because they just have to have a piece of all those high school memories. And then a regular riot ensues.
I don't remember being so enamored of my high school yearbooks. I have four of them, lined up chronologically on one of my basement bookshelves. The only time I look at any of them is...well, never.
But my cherubs, and certainly their friends, are all about the yearbook. The first place a kid looks is the index. More than two mentions in the index signals popularity. And high school is...well, all about one's status in the pecking order. It shouldn't be, but that's another story.
We've made some changes over the years. One of the biggest happened during this year's deadline cycle. We decided that superlatives ~ the "Beautiful People," those of "Best Eyes," "Best to Take Home to Parents," "Best Buds," ~ are not newsworthy, so are not an accurate reflection of the school year. They're just a reflection of how eager the "hangers-on" are to vote for those who "have it all," which is, let's face it, not much. In high school, at any rate.
So the superlatives are gone. Don't know how that will go over with the masses. I'll let you know.
We've also expanded our coverage. This year's book, we hope, will be more representative of the school at large, and not just a love-fest for those in student government or those on Homecoming Court, or the football team, or the cheerleaders. Yes, those high school clichés till hold a certain cache. Big-time.
We've got stunning photos, crisp copy, an interesting theme. The book, for the fourth year in a row, is printed completely in color. The hope is that folks will do more than just remember this rite of passage called high school. They'll cherish it enough to pay big bucks, have their friends sign it, and open it up on the odd occasion when they want to remember what life was like, back in the day.
But along with the memories, comes the headaches. We're just about done correcting 40 pages of proofs. Today I got a notice from the publishing plant that 58 more pages are coming our way in a couple of days. We're trying to finish up the last deadline. My journalistas are rapidly losing focus, and I've got a funny feeling that those pages of memories hold more than one major typo and a couple of other snafus.
Oh, for simpler times, when yearbooks were in black and white, no one wrote captions, and it was cool to pay homage to the Beautiful People.
But I don't remember my high school yearbook creating such a buzz. For better ~ or for worse.