April 23, 2006 / Spring 2006 / Staff Management

Workshops motivate, inspire students

Written by Idea File Staff

Veteran advisers understand the importance of summer workshops to their yearbook program. New advisers or reluctant staff members may not fully comprehend the benefits of getting a jump-start on the next yearbook.

Before last summer, Kristine Day could not have listed the benefits of a summer yearbook workshop.

Even though she had already been chosen editor-in-chief of the yearbook at J.I. Case High School in Racine, Wis., Day never attended a summer workshop. Nor had any other student from Case High in recent years. Which is why Day did not know what to think when new adviser Jennifer Muffick suggested it.

“I definitely didn’t expect anything. I thought we would just learn how to use some computer programs,” said Day.

Software training certainly was part of the agenda when Day and one of her section editors, Ashley Jensen, made the trip to Walsworth’s Chicago-area summer workshop in Schamburg, Ill. As it turned out, there was much more.

“We ended up coming out of there with a whole theme packet, and a cover design,” said Day. “We were only there for two days, but we got a lot of things done.”

Catholic High School in Baltimore became a Walsworth customer this year. After previously doing layouts by hand, the yearbook staff quickly needed a crash course in computers and how to use InDesign to build their book.

As a result, several editors and staff members attended Walsworth’s workshop in Baltimore in the summer of 2005.

The classes proved to be extremely valuable. Once back from the workshop, the Catholic High staffers who attended got together with the rest of the staff during the summer and held their own mini-workshop to pass along what they learned.

“This was my first year in yearbook, so the workshop was very helpful,” said Mollie Cora, a new staff member on the Catholic High yearbook. “I learned all the yearbook terms, how to write copy, how to write captions. And every afternoon we went to the computer lab and worked on how to use InDesign.”

Lisa Schroeder, a senior copy editor for the Catholic High yearbook, said not only did the staff get way ahead on their work while at workshop, the experience was much more fun than many of them anticipated.

“It was nothing like I expected,” said Schroeder. “I expected to be sitting in a classroom all day, full of people I didn’t know, learning about things as if I were back in school. It was so much more interesting. The speakers made everything fun, and you could really understand what they were talking about.”

Some yearbook staffs have discovered that the value of a summer workshop can directly depend on the motivation of the students. That was the situation for the yearbook staff at Carnegie High School in Carnegie, Okla.

In previous years, the staff had attended the Walsworth summer workshop in Reno, Okla., but had not always accomplished much. This past summer, the editors made a conscious decision to change that.

Aaron Fobes, one of Carnegie High’s senior editors, said the yearbook was changing to all-color this year, and the staff used it as extra motivation to develop a better book.

“We paid a lot more attention than maybe we had in previous years,” said Fobes. “We tried to remember every single thing we learned, and we’re still using our notes from workshop halfway through the year.”

Not only did the Carnegie staff nail down their theme over the summer at workshop, senior editor Melanie Blount said they also learned the importance of developing continuity throughout the book with elements such as fonts and styles. So far, it has made a world of difference in this year’s yearbook.

“We didn’t realize how much those things helped, until we saw the product of not using it compared to doing it right,” said Blount. “I’m really pleased. Our book this year looks like a magazine, or a real publication, instead of a scrapbook like
it was before.”

Fobes agreed that all the knowledge gained from the workshop has helped Carnegie create a better book that “you can’t tell came from the same school.”

“It’s definitely so worthwhile to go and take it seriously,” said Fobes. “You can still have fun, but you should also take it serious and learn as much as you can. It will help.”

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.