The Operation Behind an Art School’s Yearbook


Ayden Hunter

The staff had each of their pictures edited into one spread for the yearbook.

Natalie Ramirez, Reporter

Responsibility and teamwork are just two of the important qualities the OCSA Yearbook Staff needs in order to tackle the job of packing a schoolyear’s worth of events into just one book. Everyone on staff agrees that, while it is fun, a lot of stress and pressure comes with their job. To ease the workload, each staff member will work where they feel comfortable and where their skills are most useful.

The beginning of the school year is when the staff creates a theme. Editor in Chief, Ayden Hunter, had the idea for a coat of arms incorporating one element from each major and that idea evolved into The Faceless Artist. Editor in Chief, Bella Chukwu, elucidated, “whatever art you’re putting out there is authentically you… it’s just art and you can’t go wrong with art,” highlighting the art despite the artist’s identity is the meaning behind The Faceless Artist.

Close-up photos were taken of students for a better portrayal of The Faceless Artist. Yexenia Mora-Becerra said, “I had to do that a lot, and that was just really hectic.” Scrambling around school for these photos has taken staff members entire class periods. Getting pictures of events is no walk in the park either, as theater etiquette must be followed during shows and lighting can be tricky. Camera settings are often changed mid performance and not everyone is taking pictures of actors at the curtain call. Bella explained that “Since we have tech rehearsals, it’s best for us to go then.” Photos are then uploaded to Herff Jones eDesign for everyone to access for their spreads (sets of two pages that are viewed together).

Incorporating the theme between spreads proved to be easier in certain areas compared to others. Ayden clarified that, “it’s a little more difficult to create imagery that expresses the theme for an academic focused page, but if I’m focusing on the majors, it comes way more naturally.” The staff had to pick through their spreads for elements in unrelated topics that can be brought back to the theme.

Staff members have creative freedom with their spreads, though there are criteria to follow to ensure consistency. Pictures must include captions, which will usually have quotes. Francesca Alexander stated, “getting good quotes is very hard.” First year staffer, Natalia Rodriguez said, “You have to know what you want on the page before you start doing the page.” Organizing spreads without everything needed is a waste of time for the already hardworking students.

While deadlines are a motivational finish line, their looming presence can also be nerve-racking. This year seemed to be especially complicated with hurricanes and ever-changing event dates besetting the staff. Natalia was tasked with completing the spread for homecoming and was able to keep her composure despite the adjustments. “I had to take a second and be like ‘this is going to keep on changing and I need to be okay with that.'”

When all of the spreads are completed, it is up to Editor in Chief, Maggie Brickman, to ensure that the information flows well before creating the index. While waiting for the spreads, she was able to explain the theme of the yearbook and summarize it in the opening and closing. “The closing was harder because I already had the opening, so I didn’t want to say the same thing,” Maggie stated.

Yearbook Advisor Ms. Mathis gives everything a final look before sending the yearbook to print. “[The yearbook] is their artistic project, at the end of the day it’s a student created piece and so whatever successes or things that they do well, I want them to get the credit for that.”

What have you learned while taking this class?

“Yearbook has taught me a lot about the importance of being there… not being afraid to jump in there and capture that moment because it’s something that not only are you able to appreciate it as an artist but the person and the people that you are capturing are also able to appreciate the fact that you captured those special moments for them.” – Shakobe Jackson

“I feel like I’ve learned more about this school than I have in previous years.” – Momo Sutton

“Not only am I learning how to take photos but I’m also learning about my environment and how to talk with people.” – Yexenia Mora-Becerra

“There’s a bunch of lingo that you learn… it’s like another language.” – Bella Chukwu

What were some challenges in creating the yearbook?

There were so many different drafts of that front graphic that felt super disjointed and disconnected.” – Ayden Hunter

“If the person you ask for a quote doesn’t give a good quote.” – Maggie Brickman

“It’s hard to get quotes after you already got photos because you kind of don’t want to talk to that person after.” – Natalia Rodriguez

“Deadlines were most of the stress, and getting quotes, and good pictures.” – Francesca Alexander

The staff can finally relax with the completion of their job and the yearbook out to print. Now they are preparing for next year’s edition celebrating twenty years of OCSA.