Even with a pared down staff of only four students, Payson High School’s yearbook staff said this year’s yearbook would punch the same panache as previous editions with the same quality of photos and layout and even a few extras.
The theme of this year’s yearbook is “exceeding expectations” and the staff hopes to beat everyone’s with a new, custom designed cover, two-page layouts and more fun features on each page. For example, this year a column runs down the side of class photo pages, which highlights students who have exceeded in school. The book is also dedicated to science teacher Cynthia Pool who died over the summer in a bicycle accident.
Junior Frankie Minturn, yearbook member, said the theme perfectly describes Pool, who exceeded everyone’s expectations professionally and personally.
“We have set aside the first page to her,” Minturn said.
Other pages have been dedicated to showcase student’s growth through the years. New this year, will be seniors’ baby pictures that have been scanned and added to the book.
On top of the usual class photo, the staff’s ultimate goal is to picture every student in school three times. Yearbook supervisor Lindsay Smith said that’s possible because of the school’s small size.
It is important to feature students more than once because “it makes them feel involved — like they are not just another face lost in the crowd,” Smith said.
Another big change this year, the yearbook returns to a black and white and color mix layout. Last year, the book was in all color, but Smith said the cost was too high this year to reproduce it. This year’s cover will also be more stylized. Last year, a student designed the cover and sketched a drawing to represent Payson.
Smith said some students did not like the cover because they thought it looked amateur.
This year’s cover is simpler and features a longhorn, the school colors and a swoosh design.
“The cover often determines how well the book sells,” Smith said.
The book is $55 and students have until Dec. 14 to order a book. No extra books will be ordered.
The greatest challenge and advantage facing this year’s staff, Smith said, is its size.
Last year there were more than a dozen students active in yearbook. When the yearbook was moved from before school or the “zero hour” to fifth period, it meant a lot of students could no longer participate because of scheduling conflicts, said yearbook president and senior Kori Phylow.
What has this meant to the quality of work and progress of the book? Smith said it has improved it.
“It has helped us so much,” she said.
“We had a lot of slackers last year,” Phylow explained.
With a smaller staff, there is more cohesion among the group and pages are coming out better, Smith said. With more designers in the past, one designer might decide a green page with brown letters looked right, even though it had nothing to do with the book’s theme or the subjects on the page.
A new design program has also meant it is even easier to complete layouts before the March deadline.
Students use an online program that quickly and easily allows them to place photos and captions. The program even keeps track of the staff’s progress and tallies up how many times a student has been pictured.
With this year’s staff smaller, balancing outside jobs and activities can be stressful around deadline.
It is not unusual for Smith and Phylow to stay after school for long hours to complete pages.
Claudia Mares, yearbook business manager, said she manages to balance work, family, Link Crew activities and yearbook.
Sophomore Raelene Ramirez said although yearbook can be stressful and hectic at times, she enjoys it.
Phylow added that she often has to participate in an event and cover it at the same time.
“We cover everything,” she said.
For example, on Monday, Phylow left school to go to work at the dry cleaners. From there she planned to go to choir practice, sing the national anthem at that night’s basketball game and then take photos of the basketball game for yearbook.
“I make it all fit somehow,” she said.
With so many events to cover and only four members, Smith often has to cover events outside of her already hectic schedule as a teacher.
“Scheduling is quite a juggle,” she said.
Phylow said the staff works together like a family to get things done.
“We text each other constantly,” she said. “The staff is really great.”