July 27, 2009 / It's Worth It / Noteworthy

Yearbooks are “worth it”

Written by Alex Blackwell

Next summer will be my 30th high school class reunion. It’s humbling to look at a number as large as 30 and realize it’s been that long since I was in sitting in senior English class watching the clock and waiting to join my friends at lunch, or complaining about the three-hour swimming practice as my teammates and I held on to the lane dividers to stay afloat as our exhaustion started to take over.

Thinking back over the past 30 years it is clear my time in high school was worth it. It was a time to enjoy being a kid for a little while longer and to consider a life that was waiting just for me.

Over the past three decades, that life has been unfolding day-by-day. There has been college, marriage, four children and a career. So much has happened since my time in high school that sometimes it feels like it happened to a different person and in a different lifetime.

But I did graduate from Maury High School (Norfolk, Virginia) in 1980. I did play on the baseball team and was a member of the DECA club. I did wear my hair long and wore a different colored Izod shirt to school each day. I know this because I have my yearbooks to remind me.

My yearbooks are worth every penny I paid for them, even though I barely had enough money for gas or the occasional movie with my girlfriend. My yearbooks are worth it, because they are more than printed pages between a hard cover – they are a connection to a time and to people I never want to forget.

This lasting and intrinsic value of a yearbook is the centerpiece of Walsworth’s new It’s Worth It campaign.  We want to encourage and nurture the yearbook tradition and we need your help to do this.

Your staff is a major center of influence when it comes to promoting the yearbook in your school. That’s why we have created a program to encourage your staff to create even more awareness for the yearbook as well as the availability of ad pages and yearbook-related options.

It’s Worth It will reward the three schools that have the highest percentage increase in yearbook, ad pages and options sales over last year. The winning school in each category will win $1,000. Yearbooks staffs can choose how to spend the money – pay for conferences or workshops, purchase hardware or use it for anything else your yearbook staff needs.

You can click here to learn more of the details about the It’s Worth It contest.

When I was in high school I had no idea how yearbooks were produced. I thought a teacher would call somewhere a couple of weeks before school ended and the yearbooks would be on their way. Once they arrived, I remember the smell of the fresh ink and the feel of the clean, white pages that contained hundreds of photographs.

It was always exciting to browse the pages looking for pictures of me and my friends. After savoring the first pass of my yearbook, it was then time to relinquish it to others so they could write personal messages of our time spent together and of our friendships.

I’m honored to have built a career around yearbooks. I know now it takes a little more than two weeks for a yearbook to be created. Your staff works very hard to make a product as special as a yearbook. Often it is a yearlong effort to take the photographs, write and edit the copy and plan the theme and how it will be developed.

My hope is you understand how important this work is to other people. You may not hear “thank you” as often as you should, but there are plenty of times when someone will remove their high school yearbook from a bookshelf, gently wipe the dust from its cover, open the pages and be taken to a time when they were considering a life that was waiting just for them.

I’m sure when they are finished re-living those memories, they will close the book, return it to its spot on the bookshelf and know having their yearbooks are worth it, too.

Alex Blackwell

Alex Blackwell has built his career around providing customers with helpful solutions, and is currently Walsworth's vice president of marketing and communications, overseeing all marketing. He began his career as a teacher and yearbook adviser in his home state of Virginia, before joining Walsworth as a sales rep.