Yearbook earns excellence award

Posted on: May 15, 2019

Yearbook earns excellence award

Capturing memories from a busy school year and preserving them for classmates is a big responsibility – one that Delano’s journalism students managed so successfully that they earned a third consecutive Jostens National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award last week.

While only 15 other schools in Minnesota received the rare honor in 2019, Delano has captured the distinction in five of the past seven years.

“We have quite a few banners in our room, but it was a good feeling to put our own up there,” said Grace Popp. 

“We wanted to continue the legacy,” added Reier Sjomeling.

Those two students were joined as senior yearbook editors by Gretchen Wuerger, Hannah Nellis and Gabby Paskach. Two additional editors in the journalism class, Maya Carson and Lily Teig, focused on the high school newspaper this year.

The award was created to “recognize those who excel in the creation and distribution of their yearbook,” according to Jostens, which involves making a meaningful book for all students, putting a book in every student’s hands, and exhibiting effective project management.

Including as many students as possible in the yearbook features was a priority for this year’s editors.

“It’s cool for the kids who aren’t in sports or a lot of activities to have their pictures in the yearbook too,” said Nellis. “They can say, ‘Even though I’m not a part of all these clubs, I’m still part of this school.’”

“We wanted to get everyone throughout the whole school into the yearbook, from the shy kids to the most popular kids,” said Sjomeling.

Another focus was an emphasis on visual appeal over a text-heavy approach.

“We worked really hard to get a lot of pictures in the yearbook this year,” said Wuerger. 

Favorite elements of this year’s book included the Hall of Fame, unique new spreads, and a new “senior quotes” section, which Sjomeling said many students are looking forward to.

“We always change up spreads for each year, add different ideas, make pages different, keep it changing instead of having the same thing every year,” he said.

“We definitely made this yearbook ours this year,” said Nellis. “Nothing from past years is even close to being like what ours is this year.”

A fun challenge
The yearbook editors spent an average of five to 10 hours per week outside of their journalism class time to meet deadlines and organize the content gathered in large part by nine junior staff members. 

“You definitely have to be organized and manage your time, especially if you’re in other sports,” said Paskach. “I’d say that’s probably the most difficult thing, but I think we’ve all done a pretty good job of that this year.”

While those efforts could be stressful at times, all were in agreement that the time spent was worthwhile.

“When we got the yearbook and saw everything we had made, it was so rewarding,” said Wuerger. 

Of course the result was gratifying, but Sjomeling and Paskach also thoroughly enjoyed the process, which included trading ideas and helping one another with page layout.

“It really doesn’t feel like work,” said Sjomeling. “It’s always fun to design the spreads and play around with the different pages.”

“It’s almost like a puzzle,” Paskach said. “You work one piece at a time, but when you see the final yearbook it brings it all together and it’s so worth it.”

Each of the editors also voiced appreciation for their under staffers, who were also busy creating the six annual newspaper editions.

“When we were juniors we had a bigger class. So the juniors this year worked really hard to get everything done,” said Paskach. “They only had nine people, so it’s kind of amazing how hard they worked and how much they did.”

The intensity of the work created a close bond among the yearbook members that even extended to yearbook teams from other schools. In addition, the need to reach out and connect with their peers helped foster new friendships across grade levels and social groups.

“That’s definitely my favorite part of the class,” said Paskach. 

In the end, group members thoroughly enjoyed creating their own chapter of Delano High School history.

“It’s in the name. It’s a yearbook, so we get to look back at all the things that we’ve done over the year,” said Sjomeling. “It’s been a lot of fun to go back and see.”

Post Categories: High School