South Jefferson yearbook program recognized by Jostens | Education

ADAMS — The work of the South Jefferson High School yearbook class was recently recognized by Jostens, the leading producer of yearbooks and student-created content.

The program has achieved the Jostens 2022 National Yearbook Program of Excellence award at the Gold Level. The National Yearbook Program of Excellence recognizes engaging yearbooks that reflect a broad representation of the student body while helping students develop 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration and information technology literacy.

This year’s award-winning yearbook program was led by chief of staff Hailyn S. Buker, designers Aidan F. Draper, Annika L. VanWormer, Sayuri Ruiz and Zachary D. Sullivan, and photographers Jacob Cronk and Grace Simpson under the direction of Judith M Whitney, South Jefferson art teacher and yearbook class advisor. The class met daily to pull everything together and create a product that many have deemed the best yearbook from the school yet.

The design and photography staff capture exciting school moments through the year and turn them into keepsakes for years to come. This year’s theme, “Shine On,” was decided and designed by students to represent overcoming the difficulties they were presented with as a school trying to work, learn and play through the COVID-19 pandemic, with a vibrant neon-lights theme. The group is already working on a book for the 2022-23 school year, though many members will graduate this year.

“I think that the theme is bringing awareness that we don’t just have to be black and gold, we can have all different colors and be very inclusive and do things that are different, out of the box,” said Miss Buker, a senior. “That’s something that we really tried to challenge our staff this year on thinking outside of the box.”

The cover was a custom-designed lithocote with a matte base. A raised Shine FX application was added to highlight the theme elements on the cover creating a contrast between the matte black background and raised theme elements that shine.

Another custom feature added to the book was gilding. The book was gilded along the edges in rainbow colors that change as the book moves.

To create the signature gilded edges, the books are overcut using a three-knife trimmer before undergoing a process of grinding and sanding. Finally, a heated foil is applied to the three edges of the book, which gives it the look of rainbow gilding.

This year was Mrs. Whitney’s second with the school and second overseeing a yearbook program. She said she is constantly learning about the process and what goes into successfully producing a yearbook, and is proud of how her staff handled themselves this year — especially when she was out on maternity leave.

“I’m so proud of the class, especially seniors who stepped up and got this thing rolling,” she said. “Sometimes we would meet up at McDonald’s to go over things. It’s a lot of work putting it together, but at the end of the day it’s worth it to see the finished product, see the kids look through to find what they did; it’s definitely rewarding.”

The yearbook staff has been focusing on interviewing and highlighting students who might not otherwise be featured in the yearbook aside from their headshots, Mrs. Whitney said. Through doing this, staff learn interviewing and interpersonal skills, are given the opportunity to try new things and be creative.

Miss VanWormer, a senior, joined the class this year and had never dealt with graphic design before.

“A lot of my designs did make it into the yearbook, so I’m pretty proud,” she said.

She was particularly proud of the “Senior Showcase” section. Along with countless hours of work, there is also a monetary cost associated with the production of yearbooks. According to Mrs. Whitney, the books cost about $70 each to produce. The program raises money through donations and ad sales for the back of the book to offset production costs. With the offsets, the books were initially $60, but with rising costs they came to $65. Anyone who wants one after initial sales will be charged $70.

Now that the books are in, focus has shifted to distribution and marketing, and the class is working to secure a theme for next year’s book.

“Its gonna go very far, the yearbook,” said Sullivan, a senior who has been in the class for the past two years. “This is only the second year Whitney has been here and it’s already improved so much, so it’s just going to keep continuing and progressing forward.”

Those leaving the class after graduation hope the yearbook becomes part of South Jefferson’s legacy. They encourage underclassmen to give it a try and become a part of the creative process.

“It’s a nice creative outlet and it’s cool seeing what we can all accomplish,” said Draper, a senior who joined this year and had many designs featured in the book. “I feel like this is the best book I’ve seen South Jeff have design wise.”

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