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“We are so proud of this book because it is all student designed. Usually yearbook artists design the cover and section dividers, but we did all of our own work.”
— Susan Sager, UMHS yearbook advisor
A historical record of time, place and emotion, a yearbook is a time capsule one pulls out of a box 25 years later to laugh about the hairstyles, moan over the slender figures the owners thought were too fat and relive some of the exuberance and drama of high school.
Some yearbooks are better than others and Union Mine High School’s 2009-10 yearbook, the Rattler, deserves a spot in the school’s trophy case.
The book with its bold neon colors on black pages was awarded first place from the American Scholastic Press Association, garnering 910 points out of a possible 1,000. The contest, which ranks school publications from across the nation, gave UMHS the highest scores in creativity, contest presentation and general page design.
It’s not the first time UMHS’s yearbook has earned an award — the 2008-09 Rattler received a special category first place for its cover.
“We are so proud of this book because it is all student designed,” said Susan Sager, UMHS yearbook advisor. “Usually yearbook artists design the cover and section dividers, but we did all of our own work.”
Tech and more
The theme for the award winning book was “Hear the Rhythm, Feel the Beat, Get Lost in the Sound, Raise the Spirit.”
“It was kind of a tech theme,” said this year’s Rattler Senior Editor Jesse Harnage, 18, “and the use of equalizer bars and neon colors in the pages gave it a techno feel.” Harnage worked on spreads and did photography for last year’s book.
James Zwernz and Devon Stump, who graduated in June 2010 created the 2009-10 cover and all the design elements with the help of Hayden Moore who is a senior this year.
Moore, 17, has worked on three issues of the Rattler and his main contribution to the 2009-10 yearbook was an innovative table of contents utilizing titles as equalizer bars. He incorporated the letters,”U” and “M” into the bar design and used the colors of each class to introduce them.
Another cool feature of the award winning yearbook was the use of special heat sensitive end papers that change color with touch.
Sager,who also teaches computers and digital imaging, said she had never worked on a yearbook until four years ago when she was given the assignment as yearbook advisor.
“It was our goal just to produce a book,” said Sager, ” I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I wanted it to be a student book.”
She hooked up with Josten’s, a yearbook company offering an online program with plenty of design tools and the ability to submit the book online to be printed. No more cropping pages with a T-square or doing cut and paste as in the “old days.” It’s more economical to submit material online as well.
“We don’t receive any outside funding and it costs about $70,000 to produce a yearbook,” said Sager, “We raise money by selling books, business ads, space for baby pictures in the yearbook and other fundraisers. New this year is a couples ad where students can have a photo in the yearbook with someone special.”
The only hazard, said Sager, is when a couple breaks up and then the yearbook comes out, immortalizing their true love.
The theme for this year’s yearbook is “Believe in You and Me” and it will have paint splattered white pages.
“No black pages this year, ” said Senior Editor Adrianna Delgado, 18. Last year she worked on the softball spreads and this year Delgado and Harnage are overseeing all aspects of the book. She’s planning to attend college and major in journalism, a direct result of her experience in the yearbook class. Harnage is rolling his leadership experience from the yearbook into the Air Force.
Students in Sager’s yearbook class are hard at work pulling together the 2010-11 yearbook, usually working until early evening at least one day a week. They are already working on cover design and themes for the 2011-12 yearbook.
“No one has a clue how much work this class is.We don’t have any slackers in here,” said Sager.”Students are learning a work ethic, design and technical skills, business skills and critical thinking to produce a historical piece that will be here for the next 50 years. ”
Sager said one of the best days is when the boxes of printed books arrive.”The room goes totally silent as everyone pours through the pages and then they start calling out congratulations to each other.”
“It’s cool to see it evolve from start to finish,” said K.C. Kaku, this year’s junior editor. Next year, he’ll carry the torch forward as senior editor and maybe there will be another yearbook in the trophy case.