December 22, 2000 / Coverage / Winter 2000

Managing Milestones

Written by Sue Dennis

Careful planning key to producing anniversary editions

Is your school nearing its anniversary date? A time to reflect? How about your yearbook? Is it reaching a milestone?

For staffs whose school or yearbook will soon be celebrating an anniversary, a decision must be made regarding whether or not this benchmark will be covered in any special way. Most likely, consideration will be given to producing a special anniversary edition.

Whether it is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a school or the 100th edition of a yearbook, staffs must evaluate to what extent they want to cover the anniversary in the yearbook. Several factors play a key role in determining how to proceed in the planning and producing of commemorative editions.

Budget considerations are extremely important when beginning to plan a special edition yearbook. Advisers should meet with their sales representative early on in the process to determine costs. This can help prevent a big surprise when the final bill arrives.

The time commitment a staff must make to producing a special edition is another major factor when investigating this project. Advisers need to select conscientious and hard working students to work on these pages. And they themselves may also have to make an additional time commitment to carry out a variety of extra duties, such as checking the factual data the students select for the commemorative pages.

While producing a commemrative yerbook requires an increased commitment of time and effort, the approach to anniversary coverage varies.


Some may take a subtle look at an anniversary like the Safari staff at North Allegheny High School, Wexford, Pa., did when covering the 50th anniversary of their school district. Staff members chose to include a “Look Back” in each section of their yearbook. These pages, featured in spot color, recalled highlights in their school district, their region and the world over the past 50 years. They recalled the baseball team winning the state championship in 1996, the senior high opening in 1974 and the first female science teacher being hired in 1987.


The Drift staff at Taylorville High School, Taylorville, Ill., developed an eight-page insert to reflect back on the past century. Printed on a special paper to convey an antique look, the staff highlighted the turning points throughout the world during the past the century, the history of the community, and major events the students at the high school have experienced.


The Lake Breeze staff of Sheboygan South High School, Sheboygan, Wis., undertook a sizable addition to commemorate their 100th yearbook. The staff developed the theme “Limited Edition” throughout their book. Beginning with the cover, they continued the development of the theme on their endsheets, title page, opening section, division pages, and closing.

They also added 20 pages that were devoted to an historical summary of each of the decades for the past 100 years. Alumni were interviewed, events from each year were chronicled in a timeline, and a photo representing each year was scanned to show the past.

Story ideas in the book reflected the theme also. For example, a “Like Mother, Like Father” article featured common interests of students and alumni parents, while a story about music showed a grandmother sharing her souvenir scarf from an Elvis Presley concert with her granddaughter who was a senior. On division pages, the staff coordinated the past with the present through photos and copy.


For their 50th anniversary edition, the Hi-Lights staff of Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind., chronicled the history of their school in the theme copy and throughout the entire book with the use of a spot color side bar on the right hand side of 100 pages. In these side bars, copy and photos depicted each year.


Developing an anniversary logo, theme copy, using old photos and coordinating their current student life stories with those of the past allowed Hope College, Holland, Mich., to integrate the past with the present in the 80th edition of the Milestone in 1997. The staff selected a dynamic picture from the past to use as a design element in the student life and sports sections. Theme copy explained the history of the Milestone from its beginnings. Copy throughout the book was also coordinated to reflect the history of student activities on campus and a history of the fraternities and sororities.


The Chief staff of Waxahachie High School, Waxahachie, Texas, began the development of their 50th anniversary edition on their endsheets, featuring the covers of all 50 books. They continued their development on the title page and division pages. On these pages, they coordinated photos from the past with the present.

Worth the effort
Producing an anniversary edition is major undertaking and commitment. However, with the proper planning and organization, the extra work is well worth it. Producing a limited edition that will truly be a milestone to your school and community is the ultimate payoff.

Take Note

The following resources can be helpful in gathering information for an anniversary edition:

Past yearbooks
Is there a yearbook morgue in the school district? If not, check city or county libraries and musuems.

Alumni & Community
The alumni love reminiscing about their high school days. Or try a retirement home. Residents there will be happy to visit and share experiences of their youth.

Older teachers
Maybe some current teachers have taught their entire career in your school, or check with ones who have recently retired. They are a great source of school history.

Schools approaching an anniversary edition should consider the following:

  • Begin planning the anniversary edition early. Set parameters.
  • Contact your sales representative to determine budget.
  • Get the word out to the community.
  • Contact your local newspaper about the anniversary edition. Persuade them to do a feature article. It will help sales.
  • Scanning pictures from past yearbook? Be sure to check with Computer Support if you have not submitted scanned photos previously.
Sue Dennis