April 16, 2013 / Staff Management

Winkles returns to the odyssey of yearbook

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Deborah Winkles’ teaching career brought her back to the Odyssey yearbook at Urbana High School this year. What she’s discovered is that while students haven’t changed, the technology certainly has.

Winkles was a yearbook adviser for 15 years, including a stretch from 1995 to 2003 at Urbana High in Ijamsville, Md. She returned to the helm of Urbana’s 18-member staff this year, and discovered nine years was a long time to be away. There’s been some catching up to do.

When Winkles stopped advising yearbook in 2003, her students were using newer technology, so computers were familiar to her.

“We were using Pagemaker, but our pages were printed and mailed. We did not scan photos. We cropped and labeled them. We did, however, type our stories, captions, and headlines directly on the page,” she said.

However, it’s the functionality of the technology that has changed.

“The fact that we are doing every aspect utilizing Walsworth’s Online Design is the biggest change. I have to figure out how to organize images and stories so that they are accessible for the students to place into the layouts. I am having a hard time not having the photos in my hands,” Winkles said.

Students have not changed, though.

Working hard in the Odyssey yearbook room, adviser Deborah Winkles provides assistance to staff member Jessica Mackintosh, left, and Laura Cergol, the editor-in-chief.

Working hard in the Odyssey yearbook room, adviser Deborah Winkles (middle) provides assistance to staff member Jessica Mackintosh, left, and Laura Cergol, the editor-in-chief.

“Every staff has a personality. My yearbook students are great and they always have been. There are always one, two, or three kids who had no idea what they were getting into and they struggle with the demands. But, most of the students are willing to give the extra energy required for this endeavor.”

Winkles advised the 1983 yearbook at St. Anne’s Belfield in Charlottesville, Va.; then the book at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Md., for six years, 1989-1995; then the Urbana book from 1995-2003.

Winkles stopped after the 2003 book, seeking a change from teaching publications because the job is so time-consuming. She also was getting involved in the International Baccalaureate program, which Urbana was starting. She was asked to teach yearbook again, after the previous adviser did not work out. Winkles now has fewer responsibilities with the IB program, so she accepted.

Training for yourself and the staff is the key to any teacher returning to the job of yearbook adviser, she said.

“Get the necessary technological training. I am glad that I had the opportunity to attend the Adviser Academy in Kansas City during the summer,” she said. “I also think that taking the students to yearbook camp really sets a tone for starting the school year. I felt well-prepared and I think the staff did as well.”

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.