Yearbook pieces together school year one page at a time

All school year, Yearbook club gathers as a class in A172 to design the yearbook from cover to cover to display and commemorate a wide recap of what this year has held at BG. Starting with 200+ blank pages, Yearbook aspires to create a book filled with memories and grand achievements over each year.

“Yearbook can only be as good as the people involved in the process,” yearbook advisor Matthew Branham said. “There are so many little things that go into the process and the hard work put in definitely pays off when we see the final product.”

One to two editors every year are mainly in charge of creating layouts and editing the work of the staff. The two editors are seniors Kristen Tognarelli and Kennedy McEwen and in order to be an editor, you need to be a member for at least one full year and show interest in the position. This year, many of the seniors are really stepping up and coming up with theme, layout, and survey ideas.

“The first thing we do is come up with a theme so the editors can start creating layouts,” Tognarelli said. “Occasionally, we have deadlines to meet so we know we’re on track and once we know that, we use our time wisely to be able to either interview coaches, get statistics and facts, and sort through pictures to find the best ones.”

Since the yearbook is a year long process, the time they have to complete it is extensive, but crucial to making sure they are able to cover everything highlighted over the year. By using the website called Yearbook Avenue, it makes it easier to construct the book.

“Organizing the yearbook takes a lot of coordination, so the people that take time out of their day to make it come to life like Mr. Branham and the senior advisors deserve to be recognized,” sophomore Elise Marcisek said.

According to Branham, the sports page requires yearbook to interview players and coaches, along with gathering data on records and statistics, and photographing games and matches.

From students to staff, artistic photos of hallways and foyers, as well as all the events throughout the year from sports to graduation, the pictures combined in the yearbook all cover a student life section which includes the dances, the plays, and other big events throughout the year.

On the other hand, the sports page requires gathering names and key members of all the clubs here at BG. A big part of this is name checking, spell checking and creating templates that allow yearbook to fit all of the clubs in.                                                                                                                                   

Most view the yearbook as the perfect summary of the school year, but the staff uses the constructive feedback from both the editors and Branham to layout each page as perfectly as possible. According to Tognarelli the shift from staff member to editor has added a new sense of responsibility.

“When I wasn’t an editor I would have issues with my page and it was really hard at first to accept it. But now as an editor it’s even harder to give criticism,” Tognarelli said. “I always feel extremely bad telling someone there’s something wrong on their page but you realize you were in their position once and you’re only helping them.”

When people receive the yearbook, they collect it as another one of their many memories experienced at BG. The accomplishments achieved by students in yearbook aren’t often soon forgotten, but it’s important to note that the yearbook also participates in an IHSA competition annually.

“When people ask me how yearbook is going, I let them know that we’ve been very successful and have finished second and third in State in the last three years in the categories of Yearbook Theme and Development,” Branham said. “Most people don’t know that there is a State competition for newspaper or yearbook, but it is awesome to see students recognized for their accomplishments at IHSA journalism and competition.”

Since the yearbook includes graduation and prom, yearbook doesn’t actually finish until second semester. They constantly edit the pages to remove any little mistakes they can and change imperfections all the way until June.

“The best thing about the yearbook is becoming so close with everyone and being able to learn new design skills while making new friends is a win–win for me,” Marsicek said. “Without everyone’s cooperation and working together to make it come to life, the yearbook would probably be much more boring.”

According to Branham the final product is something the staff is ultimately be proud of as it serves a symbol of time spent at BG for all to enjoy.

“This book is something tangible that everybody can look back on and share to future family members, whether it’d be ten or even twenty years from now,” Branham said. “I see it as a piece of history, a historic artifact.”