Leadership team lays out plans for a memorable yearbook


Contributed photo

El Burro Yearbook Editorial Staff (from left) Payton Balas, Emily Svika and Olivia Haas check out other schools’ yearbooks for inspiration during their July 25-28 Jostens yearbook camp at the University of San Diego.

Sarah Quick, Photo Editor

The 2022-2023 Digital Multimedia class — better known as Yearbook — is hoping to build upon the El Burro’s proud legacy with its own enthusiastic vision.

For the first time since COVID began, the El Burro Yearbook editorial staff was able to attend the Jostens Yearbook camp in person in San Diego. There, they got ideas about how to develop and sustain a theme, have an effective and efficient layout, and so much more. They browsed sample books, attended workshops and design sessions, and worked with Jostens staff to refine their ideas.

Senior Editor-in-Chief Emily Svika, who has been in yearbookclasses since eighth grade, found the in-person camp to be much more interactive and worthwhile than the online versions she had attended.

One of the things that I found the most interesting and helpful was how they showed us how to create a cohesive and exciting theme for our book,” said Svika. That theme is driving everything from the book’s colors and fonts to its sequence and coverage.

While the process of deciding the theme took a lot of discussion and revision, ultimately the leadership trio decided on a very flexible idea that earned them top recognition in their group and a $500 award to apply toward their cover design costs.

One of the staff’s main goals this year is to broaden and diversify coverage, aiming to get students in the yearbook at least three times. While Jostens provides multiple tools to track coverage, the staff realizes they will have to work to reach more of the student body.

“This is a challenge sometimes because a lot of the time, you get students who aren’t as involved,” said senior Payton Balas, the section editor responsible for sports spreads.

She and the rest of the team are hoping that moving to a chronological layout will give them more flexibility with their spreads so that they can find ways to incorporate more student stories and pictures.

“I can’t wait to make more inclusive and engaging page layouts,” said Balas. “It wasn’t until this last summer that I learned how many different and attractive ways there were to design a page.”

For the first few weeks of class, the leadership team has been helping new members learn the ins and outs of Jostens layout software and helping them design practice pages and work with available templates.

“A yearbook is about capturing the moments of the year that are worth remembering,” said senior Olivia Haas, the section editor for student life spreads. “By including words and pictures, we can create a timeless book.”

Other key members of the team guiding the new staff members are Business Manager Emma Drefs and Photography Manager Kai Riddle, both seniors and yearbook veterans.

Drefs has been preparing advertising materials for the students’ big ad sales campaign, which includes a combination of business ads, senior recognition ads, patrons and sponsors. Basic information about ads went out with the back-to-school packet and a link to ads is at the bottom of the BHS website.

“I am so impressed at the support Yearbook has received from local businesses and the community over the years, which has helped keep yearbook costs down and put more books in our students’ hands,” said Advisor Susie Burgess, who is new to the job this year. “I’m also happy to have Emma’s help in keeping us organized.”

For more information about ads, the public can email her at [email protected] or [email protected].

The heart of any yearbook is its photographs, of course, and Photo Manager Kai Riddle has been working to organize the camera equipment and streamline the photo organization process so that students can take and include the best photographs possible.

With that goal in mind, the students have been practicing taking different types of photographs — playing with angles, filling the frame, and adjusting camera settings.

“It’s been fun to see students experiment,” said Burgess. In one activity, for example, pairs of students competed to see who could stack the most sugar cubes on a popsicle stick held in their partner’s mouth, while other students photographed the contest, hoping to catch the emotion, action, and reaction of the activity.

“Our new members are great,” said Svika. “They have been willing to try anything to get the best shots.”

The photo sessions have doubled as team-building activities, helping the group learn to work together so they can meet their deadlines while still having fun.

Senior Tatum Herrera, the class’ other returning member, has taken several new “Yearbookies” under her wing to help them get up to speed with all things Yearbook. She has been indispensable, according to Svika.

“With a largely new staff this year, we’ve relied heavily on Tatum to help us teach our new staff members how to find their way around Jostens and a camera,” said Svika. As with everything else, the goal is to create a positive experience for everyone in the Yearbook class and a great book to distribute in May.

As one sign says in the Yearbook classroom, “People pay money to read our homework.”

“It’s a responsibility we are taking very seriously,” said Burgess.