Yearbook praised for hard work

The smell of coffee and popcorn fills the air as the sound of mechanical and rhythmic clicking rings in the ears of students. Conversations turn into silence as the looming monster of deadlines creeps up on the yearbook staff. Lunches, free time after school and even parts of summer vacation are thrown away in dedication to the creation of this great book, especially by the Editor in Chief.

In the year 2010, Kayla Willett entered the high school as a freshman on yearbook staff. The next year she stepped up as a section editor. Junior year brought on even more responsibilities and new people. Now, as a senior, she has learned all that can be taught by her adviser and is currently the Editor in Chief. With this position comes more responsibility than many students consider.

“Multitasking is definitely the hardest part of yearbook,” Willett said. “But it has definitely taught me a lot.”

As the editor, Willett’s responsibilities are constantly growing. From training new staff members to writing stories, designing pages, taking pictures and making sure everyone else is on track, her duties are never taken lightly.

“Getting to know [all the new members] and how they operate was a little difficult,” Willett said.

Despite the challenges and responsibilities that come with her position, Willett loves what she does and still has her favorite parts of being on staff.

“[My favorite part is] either between the friends that you make, because you meet people that you never would have met before,” Willett said, “or creating a masterpiece.”

Willett plans on attending the University of Oklahoma with a major in graphic design and photography. After her graduation, it will be up to the current staff to train any new additions to the team.

“It was probably hard to train all the new people this year, but I am able to catch onto stuff pretty easily,” sophomore Dallas Lassley said. “I’ve always been like that.”

The staff believes the quick learning of Lassley and other new members of staff will greatly benefit the newcomers of next year. Although this is Lassley’s first year on staff, he is already feeling the stress and pressure of deadlines.

“[The hardest part to me] is long-term spreads,” Lassley said. “We have to keep up with them all year, and we forget about them.”

But even those that haven’t been a part of staff for very long know how rewarding yearbook can be.

“Being in a class where you can communicate with everybody and where you don’t have to feel embarrassed talking in front of the class [is my favorite part],” Lassley said.

The feelings and passions of the staff are greatly reflected in their adviser of seven years, Lisa Snider. She graduated from Cameron University in 2006 with a desire to be a publications adviser, and the position was open in Duncan. She has been here, imparting her knowledge and guidance, to newspaper and yearbook staffs ever since.

Through the years, there have been many proud moments for Snider, but it reached its peak for the yearbook staff in 2012 with their first Sweepstakes Award, the equivalent of winning a state championship for journalism.

“The first time we won Sweepstakes was pretty sweet,” Snider said. “We did a lot of stuff right, and I’m just really proud of that.”

As the advisor, she understands the struggles of the staff and attempts to lend enough of her skills to aid the staff in getting over their weaknesses.

“As hard as we try, we can never meet all of our deadlines,” Snider said. “So we end up spending too much time in summer making [the yearbook] perfect.”

With the goals the yearbook staff sets for themselves, it is unavoidable that they spend some time in the summer finishing up the book. Without that crucial summer time, events like prom, project graduation and graduation itself would be left out of the book. Despite the aggravation of students at the book’s arrival time, the staff feels that these events are important and that the student body needs to understand that.

Other factors that contribute to the push back of release, according to Snider, is simply the amount of effort the staff puts into their work.

“No one ever realizes how much detail goes into each spread,” Snider said. “[The deadline] sneaks up on you.”

Despite the missed goals, and stress that comes with it, the staff and their adviser all love the yearbook, and are all more than willing to sacrifice time to make it perfect.

“We are creating this thing that will be sitting on people’s shelves for decades,” Snider said. “It has to be the best it can be.”