Niles High: It’s not your Mama’s yearbook

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, April 29, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With constantly improving technologies and advanced student knowledge of that technology, Niles High School students have been changing the way their school yearbook is produced.
Digital cameras, advancements in graphic design and page layout programs have all contributed to make the process of putting a yearbook together much different than it was only a few years ago.
Niles High School teacher and yearbook advisor Kim Knoll has seen dramatic changes since she began working with the yearbook four years ago.
She said the use of digital cameras have had a positive impact on yearbook production by letting students see the pictures before they are developed and allowing them to work with the photographs on computers.
Knoll, who oversees the students' work and helps out by attending numerous school events to take pictures, is happy to have students with the technological knowledge to help in the process, because she has not been able to keep up with all of the new advancements.
Niles High School senior Mandy Robson, layout editor for this year's yearbook, said the new technologies have been hard to adapt to, but have also helped to keep her up to date with some of the new advancements.
Robson, who plans to study graphic design and photography at Southwestern Michigan College and Andrews University, said the experience of working with yearbook has been helpful toward her future career plans.
Yearbook editor-in-chief Mike Squier, a Niles High School senior who plans to go on to Southwestern Michigan College to study journalism, also thinks yearbook has provided some great experience toward his future career path.
With responsibilities like writing and editing copy, page layout, gathering quotes and taking photographs, Squier is gaining a lot of skills that are necessary for a career in journalism.
Robson and Squier have been putting a lot of time and effort into yearbook production this year, sometimes logging up to 30 hours a week to meet their deadlines.
This week, the two editors were busy going through photographs and putting the final touches on the senior layout portion of the yearbook.
But, they are not doing it all alone. They are part of a yearbook class taught by Knoll with 25 other students.
Those students, called "staffers," are responsible for taking pictures and assisting with copy and quotes.
The yearbook staff also gets help from other high school teachers and students.
Knoll tells everyone to "think yearbook everyday."
So, if a class goes on a field trip or does something interesting in school, she asks them to have the yearbook in mind and to take pictures when it is appropriate.
The yearbook is an important piece of history for high school students, so Knoll wants to make sure to include as many students and events as possible.
Robson and Squier were happy to have a role in the production of such an important piece of memorabilia for their high school peers.
The students have voted to include events that take place later in the school year like prom, project graduation and the graduation ceremony, so the final yearbooks will not be available until next school year.
The yearbook staff will finish up work on the yearbook in June and then send the layout plans to Walsworth publishing. The final products will be shipped to the school in September.