April 15, 1999 / Spring 1999 / Theme

Behind The Themes II

Written by Jim Jordan

Armed with a list of unique happenings at their school next year and fortified with lots of Chinese food, the Indian’s editorial staff, along with a few writers and photographers, gathered in a dorm room at a summer yearbook workshop to brainstorm a theme.

The school was moving to block scheduling. They would be in the final year of over $9 million in renovations, and several administrators would be new to the building. After many examples of how things would differ that year, they knew it would undoubtedly be a crazy year. As they searched for phrases that would fit the year’s outlook, someone suggested, “Out of Sync.”

Copy Editor Wendy Schwanz knew this was the perfect theme for the 1998 yearbook.

“I just had a gut feeling it would be the one,” she said. “Those three words completely conveyed everything we wanted them to. That night the whole staff realized that everything that they had become used to would be different in the year to come, leaving people with the feeling of being out of sync.”

At first, adviser Becky Lucas was worried that it might be perceived as too negative, but the staff decided that they would not use a negative spin. Instead, they took the approach that said, “Hey, with all the changes, nothing feels quite normal, and is there really anything normal about being a teen?”

To help convey the “Out of Sync” theme, Schwanz and Editor-in-Chief Amy Pyle changed the format of the yearbook, developing new sections and rearranging the coverage. The class and faculty portraits were separated and placed at the end of the five major sections to create a structural and visual effect for the theme.

The “Distractions” section reviewed and focused on all the changes to the building and the faculty that year. While all the events and activities were recorded in the “Routines” section, focusing on how all the change affected each of those activities.

“Priorities” was a new way to cover clubs and groups that occupied much of their time even in the midst of change. “Strategies” was the focus of the sports section and highlighted the unique approach each team took to win. And “Success” stressed student achievement in academics, emphasizing that learning was really the most important part of school.

As the year progressed, the staff became more confident that their choice for the yearbook’s theme was a good fit.

“It was an easy theme to develop,” Schwanz said. “The school and student body gave us plenty to work with and develop.

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Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.