Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Be True to Your School

Be True to Your School

Writer's Workshop Prompt #1: Your 15 Minutes of Fame.

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 clich├ęs 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.


Christy said...

congratulations. I don't do this particular job, but my good friend does, and she has spent more than one veeeeeeerrrry long night at school with addlepated young'uns, trying to get them to focus. This is a huge and often thankless job ("my name's misspelled and you missed me on these three pages!").

June Freaking Cleaver said...

In color?

What does one of these dustcatchers cost nowadays?

Oh, that made me sound OLD.

Before I moved here to MO, I threw all my yearbooks away, without a second of indecision.

Bye bye.

Karen and Gerard said...

My yearbook didn't have the "best" stuff either and was in black and white. The order came in so late that we barely had any time at all to get them signed. I think I have maybe four signatures! That would be a bear to proofread! I never thought about that before.

Susie said...

I don't look at my yearbooks often but I am glad that I have them:-)Great job!!!

thepsychobabble said...

I think my mom *might* have a couple of my old yearbooks left. Maybe.

Jessica said...

I had no idea so much work was put into yearbooks. I haven't looked at mine in a long time.

birdermurdermama said...

I recall a veritable buzz in the school the day the yearbooks came out, but the bigger deal was signing each other's books and seeing what people 'really' had to say about you. Oh, for the naivete of of the reasons it's so much fun for me to work high school characters and faculty into my novels.

Jayne said...

Excellent call to ditch the superlatives. There's enough of that going on all year long. No need to memorialize it. And I swear you swiped that yearbook photo straight out of mine! Or did we graduate together?
Good luck wrapping it all up. ;)

dkzody said...

Glad you ditched the superlatives. I never did them, rather letting the newspaper do them. The yearbook is one task I didn't miss this year. It is HORRENDOUS to get that book done, especially a big one like you do.

Sarah said...

I don't blame you for getting a buzz. If I had to do this for 17 years I'd get a buzz as well--may not be from the yearbook though..

cat said...

Sounds like you made great changes.


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