Let's Have Some Fun. The Yearbook Is Done!

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Your school’s sports teams do it. School clubs will do it. Shouldn’t the group that has the second-largest team budget in the school have one? Yes, your yearbook staff deserves some type of year-end celebration to honor all the hard work they did this year. How you decide to celebrate depends on your staff, your school, your budget, staff traditions and timing. Justin Turner, adviser at Sheridan High School in Sheridan, Arkansas, always has a year-end banquet for his staff and he lists these reasons why: • Honor the staff and thank them for their work • Celebrate staff accomplishments • Staffers who are proud of what they do encourage others to apply • Show parents what you do and to thank them for all they have done • This may be the only time some staff members will ever attend a banquet that honors them This eBook lists the tasks to consider when planning to honor your year’s staff. Along with these ideas, use Pinterest or other party-planning websites for more ideas.



This is their yearbook and their work, so let them determine what to do. You may need to give them some parameters, such as budget, but let them handle the details. You don’t need anything else on your plate. If you have a staff position such as Morale Chair, who has been taking care of acknowledging birthdays and special occasions throughout the year, that person would be in charge and can select committee members. Otherwise, form a committee or ask for volunteers. 2. DETERMINE A BUDGET You may have the expenses for this in your budget already. If not, decide whether students or parents will cover some of the cost. Review the ideas below, see what you want to do and then determine how to pay for it. 3. DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF CELEBRATION Tradition may dictate this – either to follow what’s always been done or to break away from it. If you’ve not had a year-end celebration before or would like fresh ideas, here are events to consider for weekdays, weeknights or weekends: • Party in your classroom during or after school • Picnic at local park • Dinner at restaurant • Meal and ceremony at rented restaurant room, community center or church Jim McCrossen, adviser at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas, has a party combining the yearbook and newspaper staffs. “We do this the night before yearbook distribution and include the first public showing of the yearbook,” McCrossen says. “We do announce any awards won by the publications and the staff members, so the parents hear it mentioned publicly.”

Before the year-end staff party at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida, staff members nominate students for various awards related to work on the yearbook. The nominees are announced at the staff’s year-end party. Every nominee gets to keep their spread and nomination form, and each winner also gets a trophy – a decorated sundae glass.


4. DECIDE ON THE VENUE. RESERVE IF NECESSARY If the celebration will take place in the classroom, you are set. But if you plan to use another room at the school, such as the cafeteria or commons area, or a park shelter, restaurant or meeting hall, reservations need to be made. Turner acknowledges that banquets are expensive, but here are a few of the ways he keeps costs down for his staff’s annual celebration. 1. Ask a church or other location to donate the space. 2. Sell tickets. Parents are happy to spend a little money for an evening that celebrates their student. 3. Be creative when searching for catering. He says if you’re willing to shop around and pick it up to avoid exorbitant delivery charges, you can feed people for $5 a person or less. 4. Ask for donations. Walmart, Sam’s Club and other major stores will donate food or decorations for a school program; but you must start asking early because many of them have limited donation budgets. 5. Ask your school’s art teacher if the art class can make centerpieces. “A banquet is a lot of work, even if your editors lead the way, but the rewards are tenfold,” Turner says. “You get to celebrate kids, generate positive PR and it becomes a recruiting tool. Kids deserve to be honored after producing a yearbook.” Kathy Beers, adviser at Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth, Texas, says she has an end-of-year dinner at a nice restaurant for students only. She pays for appetizers and desserts, but the students pay for their own meals.

Staff and editors smile at their end-of-year dinner. Students dressed up and enjoyed a nice dinner to celebrate the completion of the yearbook. It was an opportunity to connect and have fun after all their hard work.

5. DECIDE WHO WILL BE INVITED This decision may depend on the focus of the party. If it’s to celebrate the staff’s accomplishments, then have the staff and editors. If you have a large staff, maybe the editors should have their own celebration. “They dress up and we just enjoy ourselves and take lots of photos,” Beers says. There may be people who should be invited to acknowledge their contributions, such as:


• Parents • Your yearbook sales representative • Administrators • Janitors • Office staff 6. DETERMINE FOOD This decision is partially made when selecting the venue, but here are some ideas for food and how to carry them out.

• Cake and punch – Order a cake or cupcakes from a local grocer, or an ice cream cake from a grocer or ice cream shop. Or have parents bake sheet cakes. These can be simple and will look festive if bakers just put sprinkles on top. Serve soft drinks or check cookbooks or look online for punch recipes. • Snacks and candy – Veggie or meat/cheese trays, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, fun-size candy bars • Lunch – Order in from a fast-food chain such as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut or Chipotle. • Potluck meal – Have sign-up sheets for main courses, sides, drinks and desserts. • Catered meal – Order from a favorite local restaurant; see if a staff member or one of their parents works at a local place. • Restaurant – Pick one based on meal price.

Years ago, editors at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida, began awarding trophy cups like this one during the staff’s year-end party. The decorated ice cream soda glasses are given to the winners in each category of yearbook work. “Normally the cups are filled with candy, but this one is four-and-a-half years old, so clearly they’re a valuable commodity,” Brit Taylor, adviser, said.

“We get all dressed up and have cake and punch, and the editors usually have a small gift for each staff member—maybe a staff photo in a hand-decorated frame or something like that. Then, the students have a big sleepover at someone’s house and then distribute the yearbook to the school the next day. It’s a 25-year tradition at our school,” says McCrossen of Blue Valley Northwest High School.


7. PLAN AND MAKE DECORATIONS Here’s where Pinterest can really help. Purchase or make decorations once the group has decided what is needed, such as: • Party favors • Balloons • Table centerpieces • Tablecloths • Slide show of staff photos (be taking photos of the staff throughout the year) • Banners or signs 8. DECIDE ON GIFTS Once decided, order and/or make items. If items are small, consider making gift bags and add candy. • Certificates • Pins • Patches • Books • Items students will use in college • Funny gifts or awards online for punch recipes. Letter-jacket patches of the current year’s yearbook cover are given to staff members at Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Adviser Kathy Beers said the patches are embroidered locally and cost $8-10 each.


Awards don’t have to be fancy to be special. Joanna Burns, adviser at Thousand Oaks High School in Thousand Oaks, California, says the editors, secretly, create “Paper Plate Awards” for every staff member. They are handed out at a dinner held the evening following distribution day.

After the final deadline, every Fusion staff member reviews the entire book and nominates staff work for Best Spread, Best Photo, Best Story and a Best fill-in-the-blank category, which is usually journalistic, funny or shout-outs people who helped in some way. All nominations are printed on nice paper so they look great. Taylor says that at the year-end party, the nominations for each category are read, the trophies are awarded and everyone gets to keep their nominations. Editors at Thousand Oaks High School in Thousand Oaks, California, secretly create “Paper Plate Awards” for every staff member. The paper plates, while simple, are meaningful because they are thoughtfully made with each staff member in mind. These awards are handed out at a year-end staff dinner.

Monitoring hallway traffic after school, Blue Valley Northwest High School Athletic Director Kevin Gerke wears a 25th anniversary pullover given to him as a gift by the yearbook staff. Instead of waiting until May, the publications staffs have, for years, given the team apparel to the school secretaries, clerks, custodians and select teachers as gifts right before Thanksgiving. The students write notes to the adults thanking them for the extra work done on behalf of the newspaper and yearbook, and attach the notes to the apparel prior to delivery. Gerke has years’ worth of jackets, ¼-zips and T-shirts given to him by the publications staff.


After the final deadline, every Fusion staff member reviews the entire book and nominates staff work for Best Spread, Best Photo, Best Story and a Best fill-in-the-blank category, which is usually journalistic, funny or shout-outs people who helped in some way. All nominations are printed on nice paper so they look great. Taylor says that at the year-end party, the nominations for each category are read, the trophies are awarded and everyone gets to keep their nominations. Beers, at Timber Creek High School, gives each student a gift bag with: • A framed group photo of the staff • Distribution day T-shirt • Graduation cords for the seniors • Letter jacket certificates for those who have lettered • Sparkly or fun candy of some sort • A patch of this year’s cover for their letter jacket 9. CLEAN UP If your celebration is in the school or at a park, make sure to have students designated to clean up the area – trash thrown away, decorations removed, floor swept. If janitors help clean up at the school, be sure to thank them appropriately. Several advisers weighed in with their celebration ideas for this eBook. Ask your yearbook sales representative what other local staffs do. Remember, the important outcomes of any event are to feel good about what has been accomplished and to have fun.



EBOOKS We hope you enjoyed the content provided in this eBook. You can get even more great tips from yearbook experts in Walsworth’s additional eBooks, which can be found at walsworthyearbooks.com/ebooks. Walsworth is among the top four yearbook printers in the U.S. and the only family-owned publisher of yearbooks. As a leading provider of resources for yearbook advisers, Walsworth’s focus is making the yearbook creation process easier and more successful for our schools. Learn more by visiting us at walsworthyearbooks.com.

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