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Creating a high school yearbook is easy. Its a way parents, teachers and students can actively work together. With this guide anyone can learn to pick a printer, how to stick to deadlines, create photographic collages, save a fortune on normal publishing, photography and typesetting costs, and collate a final product in a fun manner that will be a treasured and worthwhile record of a student's and teacher's school lives.

The first step is to set up a yearbook committee through the Parents Association Committee. Most schools have them and all that is needed is at least three volunteer parents who are willing to give four hours of their time per month to guiding and coordinating yearbook production and student and teacher efforts.

The role of the Head Yearbook Coordinator will be to find a printer, liaise with the PAC and school staff. Other jobs include setting up in-school meetings with participating students and other meetings for adult staff. Also it is important to get the school to allot time and a room for yearbook activities during extra-curricular hours - lunchtimes are usually a good time. Plus this senior role also looks for leadership and basic management skills to coordinate deadlines and the designation of work.

Other committee adults need to be allotted coordinating tasks which include:

1. general artwork and collage photos, cutting and pasting, captions and general collection thereof

2. individual, sports, clubs and other group school photograph collections, cutting and pasting, captions and if possible class theme related titles

The second step is finding a printer - in September. The first priority is to have a complete listing of the number of students and staff, field trips, scheduled activities, dances, sports meets, school festival celebrations and other events to be included. The following guidelines will help in determining this:

1. 8 photos per 11" x 17" page per grad class, including any write ups, and 1 page with 6 student and 1 teacher photos and class theme name (to be voted on by class) - ie. French Fiddlers

2. 10 graduate baby photos per 11" x 17" page

3. 1 of 11" x 17" page for principal and vice principal's message, their photos and names

4. 1 of 11" x 17" page for staff group photo and names

5. 16 photos per 11" x 17" page per other student classes and 15 photos per page including teacher photo and designated class theme name (see #1 for further information) Ú

6. 2 center pages for a panorama picture of staff, support staff and students - done by the professional photographer who takes the individual photos

7. 1 set of assembly collage photos and captions per 11" x 17" page

8. 1 of 11" x 17" page per other page themes: field trips, activities, school work, sports, festivals, dances, etc. (depends on what the school year includes)

9. 1 piece of artwork for front cover

10. 1 piece of artwork for outside cover

11. 1 piece of artwork for back inside cover

12. 1 autograph page including any credits for the yearbook at bottom of the page (student and committee names and titles)

13. 1 page for general student artwork photos (to be taken by yearbook committee)

14. 2 student group club, sport or other photos per 11" x 17" page

15. 1 page for honorable mentions for 8 top annual cover runner-ups

Generally speaking it is possible for 500 students to use up 50 - 60 double sided pages in a yearbook, but this is just a guide. It is important to have one of the volunteer parents to be good at word processing and possibly desk top publishing. Printers can produce a better copy if all items are scanned and pre-set on computer disks. However it can be done the old-fashioned way with cutting and pasting. This will require copies of photos though the individual and baby photos will probably need to be scanned to get copies.

Step three is to coordinate jobs for the volunteer students. In September notices must be handed out for all students to create their ideas for the annual back and front covers. The final selection of three (front, back and third place for inside back cover) will be decided by the parent volunteers. Also send out annual order forms to get an idea of the numbers of copies required. In October some students need to be drawing frames for the individual photos, allowing for size 3 x 4 cm photos. In November, individual photos taken by a professional photographer must be scanned and given to students for identification. All names, individual photos and annual covers' artwork must be ready by mid-December for mounting, scanning and/or cutting and pasting.

Step four is to ensure all teachers, other staff and parents send in copies of photographs taken of any activities, events or the like to the yearbook committee. An inbox can be put in the school office for this purpose. Try using a labeled shoe box.

Photos for collages will come in frequently over the school year. The deadline must be for mid-May, no later. Based on the number of pages allowed for the collages, use the following guide:

1. look for good contrast, color saturation and exposure of photos - any others must be returned to the school

2. look for the main subject of the photos and cut and clip around accordingly - no backs or backs of heads

3. choose a selection of close-ups, group and distant photos

4. choose the best of 1-3 and arrange the collages, but do not glue to the paper yet - use photocopying paper or business printed paper for backgrounds

5. use imagination for short and catchy captions - ie. an aquarium field trip (VANCOUVER AQUARIUM DIV. 2 BIOLOGY 11)

6. use imagination for other captions - ie. a Halloween picture of Luke Skywalker (MAY THE SCHWARTZ BE WITH YOU)

7. put all photos in envelopes according to their event, date, class and division

8. give the designated parent volunteer typist a list of the captions needed

9. mount each envelopes' photos with their captions and group some activities on same the page if the number of photos is small, but keep them in some form of sensible order ie. Halloween and Thanksgiving

10. put pages into chronological order according to dates of the events

For the group and individual photos simply mount the frames needed onto the designated pages and photocopy or scan until the page is full and set up properly. Mount photos and add on any captions, class titles, theme names and group name lists - don't forget the division numbers. The principal's and vice principal's message can be mounted with their photos and captions at the last minute.

Finally it is important that the price of the yearbook be kept low enough so that less fortunate students can afford it. It may mean that the PAC will have to subsidize some of the costs through fundraising, though usually this should not be necessary.

To keep costs down the only answer is to use a soft cover and stapled binding. The outer covers should be in color. The inner panorama picture is better in color, though black and white is okay. The other pictures can be kept in black and white. Why not color? For color pages the cost would be extortionate. Parents, students and staff would be less willing to buy or support further yearbooks if the cost was high.

Also note that the printer can give discounts for large quantities and it is best to get quotes from a few before making a final decision. Once chosen the printer will designate guidelines for the time needed to print, prepare and deliver the yearbooks. Never accept delivery without first checking the proofs (final unbound pages) the printer has prepared. Always remember that sloppy work means a poor yearbook.