April 15, 1999 / Spring 1999

One for the books

Written by Kyle Price

Veteran yearbook adviser reflects on 35-year career.

Thirty-six years ago, after graduating from Western Illinois University in the spring of 1963, I began my teaching career at Yorkville High School, Yorkville, Ill., as a business education teacher and adviser to the student council. I was not the yearbook adviser that first year and had no real intention of ever becoming one. That would soon change.

Looking back, I have to assume that the success of Homecoming, which was sponsored by my student council kids that first year, was what qualified me to take over the position of yearbook adviser in my second year at Yorkville. It was either that or the fact that many business teachers were automatic candidates for the position. This may be because the room where I taught my classes had large desks, or because the room next door had typewriters.

Whatever the reason, the superintendent asked me at the end of that first year if I would like to be the yearbook adviser. He followed the question up by stating that the position did not pay that much. He did not ask me for my qualifications or past experience in producing yearbooks. I agreed to the opportunity, thinking I would try it for at least one year. Being yearbook adviser became addictive and each year I continued to agree to “one more year.”

Now, 35 years later, I have advised my last yearbook.

The challenges and frustrations, as well as the importance of producing yearbooks, have become greater over the years. The first Mi-Y-Hi yearbook I advised was released in the spring of 1965 and consisted of 102 pages with very little copy and a whole lot of pictures. Things are sure different today as we prepare the final pages of the 61st edition of the Mi-Y-Hi for press. Over the years, many new methods of publishing have developed from typing copy sheets on the manual typewriter to using the computer for desktop publishing. With desktop, the quality and content explode. When we introduced color into the yearbook, it was an exciting moment for everyone. One school board member acknowledged the positive changes and was impressed with how we were keeping up with the changes of the future.

There have been many rewards to being yearbook adviser, especially in working with the students who have always been motivated to try and had a desire to be creative and willing to learn and take on more responsibility in their busy lives. It has always been a pleasure to see the learning process take place for students; learning the proper techniques in journalism, writing, organizing, budgeting, selling, and accepting responsibility. And, it has always been a pleasure to witness the sheer excitement of the students when they see their completed product at the end of each year.

I have had the opportunity and joy of advising more than half of the yearbooks published at Yorkville High School. My need to be challenged outside my normal classroom teaching duties has been fulfilled by all the demands of the yearbook, including:

  • Involvement with talented and dedicated staffs willing to try and accomplish new things, such as designing their own covers for the yearbook. (One cover that was especially interesting had our high school name on the marquee of a now historically refurbished theater.)
  • The determination of students seeking permission from a national magazine to use one of its photographs.
  • The evaluation of our yearbook by national scholastic press associations and universities, which over the years garnered many prestigious awards in all phases of yearbook production.Beyond those rewards, it has always been gratifying to see how the student body reacts when they first open up that brand new yearbook. It is wonderful each year to see the expressions on the faces of the students and especially those who devoted so many long hours to the process of completing the yearbook.As years change many things, the extras of working with so many different people was motivating. It was great to work with photographers, get to know the yearbook representatives, as well as the many concerned parents and other citizens that play a part in the completion of the yearbook. Yearbooks have changed and are higher quality than before because of the people who care about the process.

    Creating change and being a part of what is new with yearbooks has always been very exciting. Believe me, you get a lot of chances to see changes through when you are involved in the yearbook process. The 35 years have passed very quickly for me. I believe I would have missed many wonderful opportunities if I had not decided to make a career of being a yearbook adviser.

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    Kyle Price