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Collaborative Brainstorming: Yearbook Advice from Xavier College Preparatory High School

Since Covid’s introduction last year, I’ve had the privilege of attending numerous Zoom brainstorming sessions with the yearbook staff of various schools. It amazes me that these yearbook staff members have continued to be driven, innovative, and creative with the content of their yearbook, rather than just doing the bare minimum. I have found that the content is deeper and more meaningful as a result of this extra effort. While Covid has presented the yearbook industry with a lot of setbacks, the hard work of United Yearbook’s clients has proven that good can still come from it.

Leaders Come Together

In less than an hour, the eager yearbook staff came up with over forty ideas for their book’s organization and creative execution.

I recently had the distinct honor of attending the latest brainstorming session with the yearbook staff of Xavier College Preparatory High School. Each staffer got to share their ideas over Zoom, and I was impressed by their ideas and creativity. In less than an hour, the eager yearbook staff came up with over forty ideas for their book’s organization and creative execution. Here is the list of ideas that they came up with. Perhaps you could incorporate some of them into your own yearbook, or you could take an idea of your own and strengthen it with bits and pieces of Xavier’s.

1. Include some fun facts about the yearbook staff

2. Include pieces written by the students regarding how they felt about the year

3. If there is a homecoming page, edit students into a green screen dance floor

4. Add a current events page, exploring what is currently happening in the world

5. Send out polls and survey questions to the students, and then include the results in the book

6. Include a picture of the publications class that covers the whole page

7. Capture what student life has been like from home

8. Create a map of college acceptances for the school’s graduating seniors

9. Ask seniors to look back on their freshman year, inserting their responses into the yearbook

10. Include coverage of important senior moments (e.g., drive-through graduation, at-home prom, etc.)

11. Ask students what they think they will be doing in twenty years, and post their responses in the book

12. Have a piece about what the new normal is as a result of Covid

13. Include pictures of what students have been doing since the beginning of Covid (could be titled “The QuaranTeens”)

14. Include a couple pages filled with the students’ favorite quotes

15. Add a couple pages of highlights from 2020-2021

16. Feature examples of kind acts that students and/or teachers have done (e.g., baking cookies for someone, being patient with teachers who aren’t tech-savvy, befriending students with special needs, sitting with the kids who are by themselves, etc.)

17. Feature stories of how students and/or teachers have “paid it forward,” so to speak (e.g., donating food, volunteering, paying for someone else’s coffee, etc.)

18. Include a section dedicated to this year’s trends (e.g., fashion, music, clothing, etc.) 19. Show the creative projects that students have worked on during quarantine (e.g., art, knitting, writing, crafts, etc.)

20. Have several “Dream Pages,” where students can send in what they dream of becoming (e.g., doctor, lawyer, author, therapist, etc.)

21. Include poems that have been written by students and staff

22. Add a page dedicated to the National Honor Society, especially the National Art Honor Society and the National Thespian Society

23. Feature what students did during their various breaks (e.g., Winter, Spring, etc.)

24. Create a page dedicated to the pets of faculty and students

25. Include a page showcasing a movie drive-in – Xavier will have a drive-in event in March/April, and a page in the yearbook should be dedicated to this activity

26. Make a spread showcasing the students’ artwork (i.e., Shookfoil Literacy Arts Magazine)

27. Include interesting facts about the school

28. Create a page dedicated to games (e.g. mad libs, crossword puzzles, or a word search)

29. Reveal what teachers do at home (e.g., how they get ready for class, what they do to pass the time, etc.)

30. Include a “most likely to” section for each grade (e.g., become famous, be the next Elon Musk, write a bestselling novel, etc.)

31. Dedicate a section to senior messages, where seniors can write an encouraging note to the other classes

32. Include Covid-19 pages with facts, figures, and the story of what happened

33. Include a page dedicated to the top songs, movies, etc. from the past year

34. Include a few pages dedicated to the students’ small accomplishments from last year (e.g., learned to bake, kept a plant alive, restricted social media use, etc.)

35. Post fun facts about the teachers so that the students can get to know them better 36. Include a timeline of the school year

37. Dedicate a section of the book to your school’s virtual spirit week

38. Include a “behind the scenes” section, showcasing the faculty and staff members who aren’t recognized but should be

39. Dedicate some space to the people who make your school run (i.e., appreciation for the teachers and staff)

40. Look into how students have been coping and keeping busy outside of school (e.g., hobbies, travel, volunteering, etc.)


Sarah Y. Tse, Founder of United Yearbook

Sarah received her M.A. in Marketing from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and her B.A. in Computer Graphics Design from Biola University. She co-founded TSE Worldwide Press in 2004, and established United Yearbook Printing in 2008. Sarah takes pleasure in mentoring and teaching others the art of self publishing, especially with those who are first-time authors, teenagers, or community leaders such as police officers, school administrators, and school teachers. Sarah is passionate about empowering people to see and activate the God-given potential which resides in each of us. Sarah’s motto is “You can do it!”

Contributors: Yearbook Staff of Xavier College Prep. High School, Palm Desert, CA

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