Reflections staff works year-round to produce memorable yearbook for BV students, community

Jordan McEntee, Design Editor

They’ve worked day in and day out all school year for that one day.

That day when all their work is physically handed over to almost every student in BV. That day is yearbook distribution day — May 13.

“Yearbook day is one of the best days of the year,” yearbook editor, senior Gretchen Hess said. “We’re recognized for the hard work we’ve put in. People can finally hold the thing we’ve been working on all year.”

The 20 members of the yearbook staff put in hundreds of hours behind the scenes from August to April to fill the 288-page book.

Assistant editor, junior Megan Kuharich said she spends at least an hour after school working on yearbook about every day.

“Personally, the yearbook room is like my second home,” she said. “I feel like it’s where I belong when I’m at school.”

Along with spending time before and after school and class time, staff members come in on some Saturdays to work.

“This year, we started doing Saturday workdays,” Kuharich said. “We’d all come in at 9 or 10 [a.m.], eat breakfast together in the room and stay all day. It was nice to go in and be focused on yearbook the whole day because it’s harder when you come in to work after like six hours of other classes.”

Hess said putting out the yearbook, especially being editor, is much more work than can be completed in a single hour of the school day.

“Being editor is definitely a lot of work,” Hess said. “I’ve been really lucky that I have study hall hours to spend in the yearbook room because it requires a lot of time outside of just 7th hour.”

Kuharich said a lot goes into the making of the pages, including photos, stories, focus spreads and senior advertisements.

The yearbook staff designs all the senior ads that go in the book. It is a long process of designing the ads, allowing parents to check them and giving staff members the opportunity to make changes.

“Senior ads are a very big deal at our school, and we take them very seriously,” Kuharich said. “We really want to perfect them or else it’s like we’re letting down the people who paid for them — and senior ads are definitely expensive. We want the seniors to feel special because they’ve given so much back to the school.”

Kuharich said deadline nights were the most stressful part of the process this year.

“Sometimes me, Gretchen, [Jill] Chittum, and Mary Ster would be there until 5 or some nights until like 8. Me and Gretchen are perfectionists, so we’d have to make sure everything was on the pages right — focusing on the little things to make it great.”

Hess said those not in yearbook don’t see the importance of meeting deadlines.

“I think people don’t understand our deadlines,” she said. “When we miss a deadline it’s a lot of money that we have to pay, and the book costs a ton of money to make. So when I’m freaking out on certain Fridays, there’s a reason for that.”

In early April, the final pages were sent to Walsworth Publishing Company to be printed. However, yearbook staff members still had to complete the supplement for spring sports.

“Once we’ve sent it off to print, we still do a lot of brainstorming for ideas for next year,” photographer, junior Erin Browne said. “We do tutorials in Photoshop and InDesign, and we all have individual projects we can be working on, like interviewing for the spring supplement for the back of the book.”

Hess said it was sometimes difficult throughout the year for the staff to continue working enthusiastically.

“It’s really an appreciation thing,” Hess said. “Like for newspaper, there’s instant recognition — for a photo you took, a story you wrote, or a design you did. But for yearbook, it’s a lot of work and you feel like it’s never going to be seen. In December, you’re working and you think ‘No one is going to actually see this.’ But when you know that someone noticed it, it’s the most fantastic feeling.”

Despite the stress the staff experienced, Hess said they still found time for fun.

“On staff, we’re all really close because a lot of us are friends outside of yearbook,” she said. “So we definitely have fun a lot — probably a little more than we should.”

Browne said being a part of the yearbook staff has taught her many lessons and skills.

“In yearbook, you get a lot of real-world experiences,” she said. “You learn to work under pressure and work well with a team, so you can have a final product that everyone likes.”

Kuharich said the staff members have grown closer through their work, while also acquiring many real-world skills.

“It’s definitely a team environment,” she said. “Communication and meeting deadlines are both a big deal. Working together has made us really close; it’s been a great bonding experience. We’re like a yearbook family.”

Kuharich said nothing compares to the emotions when distributing the yearbook after a long year of hard work.

“It is the most amazing feeling,” she said. “It’s awesome when your friends come up to you and they’re like, ‘I love this picture you took!’ or ‘Great story!’  I guess you have to be a yearbookie to understand it, but for us it’s kind of like winning State in a way. There’s just no better feeling in the world.”