BLOOMDALE – The Elmwood High School yearbook is gaining notoriety.
Elmwood’s first Jostens National Yearbook Design Recognition award was earned in 2016-17 when the yearbook staff earned their first-ever National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award.
The second Jostens award was earned in 2018-19 when the yearbook was recognized for excellence and featured in the Jostens Look Book, which celebrated the best-of-the-best in yearbook design for the 2019 Royal yearbook cover.
This was the yearbook program’s first-time appearance ever in an official Jostens Look Book showcasing the cover design.
The 2021-22 yearbook earned a Jostens National Yearbook Design Recognition honorable mention. There were only six schools on Ohio who received this award.
Jostens Look Book celebrates the best-of-the-best in yearbook design and is a collection of outstanding yearbooks, creative themes, cool covers, relevant coverage of school events, meaningful storytelling and photography.
This year’s yearbook staff is working for yet another honor from Jostens.
While the cover is still a secret, it may be the best one yet, said yearbook adviser Krissy King.
“It’s probably one of the most unique books to come out,” King said.
The theme for the 2022-23 yearbook is “We Are One.”
The yearbook staff uses the same theme picked by the Royal Rowdies, which is the student body that cheers at sporting events, said senior Rachel Murray, who is a co-editor this year.
In the yearbook, sports, music and academics are “one” instead of separated, she said.
Each of the pages has the word “one” on them, added senior Kynzie Science, who is another co-editor.
She said for the past two years, the Royal Rowdies adviser came up with a slogan and the yearbook staff copied it.
Last year’s theme was “This is Our House.”
King said her yearbook team looks through the Look Book for ideas for theme development, cover ideas, sports layouts and specialty pages.
“It’s good for our school,” King said about the recognition, “getting the program to be seen and getting more people interested in it.”
It also helps build resume skills for college, she said.
Putting a yearbook together is a year-long project.
“I feel like definitely longer than the time we have,” Science said.
She said they have to make sure all events are covered, inside and outside the school.
Murray commented on the deadlines the team faces, getting both sponsors and buyers. They start from the first day they walk into the school and pick the theme within the first two weeks.
“This year we did come in knowing what our cover was going to be because we had already decided last year we were going to do,” Science said.
“The worst part about it is making sure everybody’s in there, and trying to get through everybody to see who isn’t in there three times, or not at all, and getting photos of them,” said junior Alayna Hensel.
The yearbook cover rotates from blue, black, gray and white so that when a senior graduates, they have all four colors. This year’s cover is blue.
Hensel, who was a photographer this year, said she joined the yearbook class because she thought “it would be cool to do it.”
“I wanted to take more part in the school because I was new freshman year,” said Science. “It helps you get out there and know more people and go to more sporting events.”
Murray said she always has done scrapbooking, both by hand and digital.
“My sister did yearbook as well and I decided it would be a good idea, too. I love messing around with pages and putting pictures and feeling out where everything is supposed to go,” she said.
Murray said she prefers scrapbooking by hand because it lets her create more character.
“It brings a 3D effect to it,” she said about the embellishments.
“We’re getting the reputation for our Look Book winners,” King said. “We’ve put our name on the map so now when we submit something for a national award, they want to check out Elmwood.
“Our covers are getting more detailed, fancier, more eye catching and appealing,” she said. “It’s lot more work than anyone thinks.”
Another skill that they learn is how to send a proper email.
“Emailing is a really good thing to have a good skill at,” Murray said, adding that she also adds punctuation in her texts now.
Science is going to Owens Community College to study accounting and play softball. She is a member of FCCLA, art and science clubs and pro committee, and is captain of the softball team.
Murray has enrolled in the pre-dental program at Bowling Green State University. She said she will transfer to a dental school after her softball year. She is a member of Royal Leaders, art, Spanish and science clubs and the prom committee.
Hensel is a member of FCCLA and Royal Leaders. She also was in charge of the fundraisers for yearbook including the 3-point contest during basketball season and the father-daughter dance.
The plexiglass cover yearbook for the Class of 2021 costs about $22,000 for 155 books, King said.
Business sponsors and grad ads are appreciated, she said.
“It helps provide for a cheaper book for the students,” King said.
This year’s book is $60 for an early-bird order or $75 after the start of the next school year.