Del Campo High School, Fair Oaks, Calif.
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Theme: Pursue the Moment
Adviser: Jim Jordan
Editor: Zoë Jordan
Walsworth representative: Reese Lyons
A short, declarative phrase that all but orders students to listen sets the stage for the 2009 Decamhian. "Pursue the Moment" is a crisp, forceful theme that emphasizes personal choice and the need for action in all aspects of high school. Specific details are used throughout the theme copy to support declarative statements that ask for action. Consistent design elements and font usage help this theme hold readers' attention to the very last page. All of the words on the cover — the theme "Pursue the Moment" and the name of the book — are reversed on a black background with paint splatters. The colors — blue, gold, green and red — and the font are used throughout the book.
Black endsheets pull the classy, simple design of the cover into the book. The same, all-caps type treatment seen on the cover is used inside for the theme development pages. Notice also the paint splatters and color choices; no detail has been left to chance – consistency is key in the 2009 Decamhian. Clever spin-off titles for each of the traditional sections add a twist to the theme. The framework for the theme copy inside is provided by the section titles: "The book of life. It's yours to write." for student life; "Every second matters. Things change." for sports; "Looks fade. Memories last." for mugs; "There's power in numbers. Make a difference." for organizations/clubs; "Grades are fleeting. Knowledge is forever." for academics; and "That was then. This is now." for ads.
Careful photo selection brings emotion to the very first page. The theme, “Pursue the Moment,” is an order to students to live their lives to the fullest. The photo on the title page underscores that message. A background of the same paint splatters that were introduced on the cover and consistent type treatment pull the theme visually onto this page.
The theme copy has a distinct style. Set in all caps, all of the theme copy seems to be shouting at readers and demanding attention. Short, declarative sentences — orders, almost — give students specific instructions that all add up to the theme phrase: "Pursue the Moment." "Seize the day. Take a chance. Don't hold back. Don't be afraid," the theme copy begins. It goes on to introduce specific details about 2008-2009 at Del Campo. "Paint your face blue and gold for the first game under the new lights." and "Be one to fill the shoes of eleven retired teachers." are two such examples. The design of this spread is consistent with all of the theme pages in the book. Black pages with the theme graphic of splattered paint provide a background for white text set in all caps. A large dominant photo takes over one page, with three smaller photos providing balance.
With the words, "The book of life. It's yours to write," the theme copy of the student life section focuses on individual choice. In pursuing the moment, the Decamhian staff says on this spread, you choose what kind of "book" your life will be. "Make it a comedy. Start a pie fight in the quad. Bust a move with your vice principal at homecoming," the staff suggests. "Make it a tear-jerker. Fight cancer. Reunite with your family after 14 years." This concept of individual choice is pulled through the section through the use of first-person stories, presidential election coverage and a four-spread feature about trends in fashion and culture.
The 2009 Decamhian begins with a three-spread feature called "72 days of summer." Mini-stories about the defining moments of different community members' summers create a cohesive introduction to the student body and a fitting introduction to the theme, "Pursue the Moment." Consistent color and font usage, including paint splatter texture in the numbers, clearly connect these spreads to one another and to the rest of the book.
Strong action photography throughout the book is good journalism, but also excellent theme development. Emotional, active dominant photos capture the moments students at Del Campo experienced during the year. This spread, the sports division, is a clear example of photo choices supplementing theme development. The copy on this spread matches the rest of the theme development on this spread. Short sentences provide instructions for pursuing the moment as an athlete. Specific details about the sports seasons of different teams are interspersed with general advice for athletes.
The staff tied its theme, “Pursue the Moment,” into mini-stories in the mugs section. On this spread, six students have been asked to share their most embarrassing moments. Other spreads use a similar treatment for "pivotal moments," and "defining moments." Other spreads tell more in-depth profile stories featuring students who have had life-changing events occur in the past couple of years, including a student with a rare form of cancer and two students who discovered that they were half-siblings.
A spin-off from the theme, "Pursue the Moment," appears on the clubs division spread with the section title, "There's power in numbers. Make a difference." Stories in the section focus on how clubs at Del Campo have an impact on their environment. On this spread, as on other division spreads, details about clubs at Del Campo are interwoven with declarative sentences about clubs in high schools in general. "Join for a reason. Join for a cause. Join for yourself. Not for your college applications. Or because your friend forced you to. Join because it’s what you want. Join to make a difference. Pursue the moment."
Paint splatters on a black background characterize each of the theme spreads. Each section's paint splatters emphasizes that section's color, which is used to draw attention to the section's title and the theme phrase in the division copy. This spread, the ads division, uses the color yellow. This treatment adds variety to the repetitive design of division spreads. This divider introduces senior tributes with these words: "It all began in kindergarten. Learn how to tie your shoes. Meet your best friend. Then you started elementary school. Memorize the state capitals. Insist boys have cooties."
The Decamhian staff took a unique approach to the closing section. Six students and two teachers were asked to share the moments of their 2008-2009 school year. The birth of a teacher's daughter, a student's realization that she is a good writer, the final moment of a cross country race are recounted in the students’ and teachers’ own words. These snapshots of defining moments in the lives of students and faculty members solidify the theme's relationship to each student in the school.
The final spread of the 2009 Decamhian asks students, "What will you do next?" "Don't live with regrets. Or empty ambition. Follow your dreams today. Not tomorrow. Life happens now." Then the staff allows space for readers to personalize their own books and actually answer the question posed, "What will you do next?"
The design of this yearbook is consistent all the way to this final spread. The red accent color appears as the first words and the last word of the copy on the right side of this spread, and also as the dominant color in the paint splashes on the left side of the spread. This consistency helps create a cohesive theme package through the 317 pages of the 2009 Decamhian.