Yearbook Class Serves A Greater Purpose

By Herna Alexandre ’16
By taking part in the Yearbook class, seniors are given the opportunity to come together to help create the book that most seniors anticipate getting, the yearbook. The class is collaborative requiring students to work together on the sections of the yearbook that they have been assigned.
The class has been around since approximately 1998 and is still going strong. It was originally taught by Ms. Rachel Axin, it was later taught by Mr. Paul Milkman for several years, and then Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek for about 1 year. It is currently being taught by Ms. Farhana Hoque in room 404. There are about 34 students involved in the class.
The Yearbook class is a one semester elective available to seniors. It is an additional course that the students take on with the rest of their course load.
The class focuses on working on layouts and yearbook designs. The students in the class break into groups and begin to work on the sections that they’ve been assigned. The different sections of the yearbook include, a  faculty section, graduate portraits, senior days, sports, clubs, and baby pictures. The students are allowed to pick their choice of section, but it is not always guaranteed that they will get the one  that they choose.
“We are put into groups that best fit each of our abilities. We have fantastic writers that cover the writing aspect of the yearbook, whereas our online designers  try to create uniform and appealing pages that really bring the whole book together,” said Areeg Naeem ’15. “Our photographers take great, high quality pictures that are featured throughout the yearbook.”
The students are encouraged to be creative while working on their part of the yearbook. They are able to use many different online design softwares and tools, such as graphic design, typography, photography, journalism, and videography using the Aurasma (Yearbook 3D) phone app, to help them with the construction of the book.
“Using online design made it easy to do many trials and figure out what looks the best,” said Ishmath Cellion ’15. “I liked that with our online design we had many options with fonts, backgrounds and templates. It was fun playing around with everything and being creative.”
“It’s very fun and really brings the whole book together,” said Naeem ‘15. “We are able to incorporate writing pieces and incredible photography, but I always keep in mind to make sure the pages look uniform and balanced and not too cluttered.”
For each part of the yearbook, the students are required to take pictures and write articles, do online designing, and meet the set deadlines of the class.
“Students have to be prompt, dedicated, and creative.” said Ms. Hoque. “By the end of the course, each group finishes the signatures they were responsible for in the yearbook.”
The signatures are the different parts of the yearbook. Every 16 pages of the book is one signature, and a group can work on more than one signature.
Ms. Hoque also helped  to include a new creative aspect to the class through the addition of  the tip books. These books are created by the current yearbook students and passed down to the new yearbook students, providing them with helpful pointers and advice on the class.
“The tip books should be able to smoothly transition the new students to prepare for what they will learn,” said Timmy Dhakaia ’15. “There is no other class that produces a book capturing the school and it’s graduating class’ personality, so I like how the tip books offers insight as to what the class will be like.”
The books are made to help prepare the incoming group of students for what the class has to offer and for what they should expect going into the class.
“Know your limits. Don’t take on more than you can handle,” advised Amy Feng ’15, Stephanie Ng ’15, Jessica Ngon ’15, and Corinna Young ’15 in their Survival Tips book.
By taking part in the Yearbook class, the students involved have the opportunity to dabble in  photography, journalism, videography, marketing, writing, and design. Participating in the class also gives them the chance to learn many new skills that may be beneficial to them in the future.
“Taking the class helped me pay better attention to details. Little details such as the spacing of a picture or the font of a heading may take days to finalize because of how easy it is to overlook a mistake,” said Dhakaia. “I also learned many things that I would not have if I had not taken this class such as how to use a software to design pages, how a camera works, and how to come up with creative ideas to incorporate into the book.”
Ms. Hoque believes that students participating in the Yearbook class benefit by having the opportunity to capture their own memories and experiences while developing lifelong skills. She also believes that the class gives some students the chance to explore their hobbies, while giving other students the opportunity to form hobbies that they may continue to pursue throughout life.
“The class is divided among students who wish to work on a variety of things such as online design, articles, specific departments, photography, and more,” said Dhakaia.

Ms. Hoque, the teacher of the Yearbook class, holding last year’s Yearbook.
Ms. Hoque, the teacher of the Yearbook class, holding last year’s Yearbook.

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