We’re big on celebrations here at United Yearbook, and we think you should be, too!
Completing a yearbook and sending it off to the publisher is a huge accomplishment. Think back on that huge ladder of pages that needed to be completed, and all the punch lists and checklists that went into every single page. It was overwhelming. If, in August, you looked around your room, looked at your roster of students, and thought to yourself, we can’t do this…well, we understand. Guaranteed, some of your students thought the same thing.
But look at you now! You did it! Or as our southern friends would say, y’all did it!
And so y’all should celebrate.
Folks in theater call it a wrap party, a celebration of closing the production and saying that’s a wrap! So what are some ideas for a wrap party for your yearbook team?
Some of the ideas we’ve listed will require some budget, others will not. If you are ambitious about your “Met the Deadline” Day celebration, you might want to include your wrap party in your budgeting and fundraising plans for next year.
"Closure is important, to them but also to you, and this is a great opportunity for affirmation and affection."
It’s not original, but it works: pizza, finger foods, soda. Depending on the location and/or the time, include some music (their music, not your music…unless you are exceedingly excellently cool).
One school we know does a breakfast potluck — if your school doesn’t have policies against students bringing in food for others. This works especially well if you have very-involved parents.
Your staff will probably won’t get a chance to linger over the book on Distribution Day — they’ll (hopefully) be busy helping you move books! So get some popcorn and a projector or big screen TV and treat “Met the Deadline” Day as a movie premiere. Project the book — either PDFs or from the yearbook software — on the screen and go through it spread by spread and cheer and “oooo” and just enjoy all the creativity and hard work you put in. You could even have your own Oscars for best spread, best headline, etc.
You could hold something more formal, more like a ceremony where students dress up. Invite parents, the administration, teachers, staff, and coaches--anyone who supported and assisted the yearbook staff's endeavors. You could have awards, and speeches, and a part where this year’s editor(s) hand over the mantle to next year’s editor(s). Bring tissues; even the guys cry at this one.
Your students may want to have a party in someone's home. That’s up to them, and, honestly, it’s better if you don’t know. If you’re an Adviser, we would tell you to not attend a party held in a student's home, and don’t host a party for students in your home. That might sound overly cautious, but you open yourself up to being accused of all kinds of stuff, including condoning or facilitating anything inappropriate that happens.
Some schools create a paperback mini-yearbook just for the staff — a mostly-photographic record of the time you’ve spent together, along with a few notes of appreciation — and give it out free on “Met the Deadline” Day. This is typically created by the Adviser and maybe a couple of key student leaders.
Are you going to have awards? If so, be thoughtful about inclusion; we’re not advocating that everyone get the same award, but don’t leave anyone’s contribution unrecognized.
A “photobooth” with lots of silly clothes and props usually works.
A “secret Santa”-style gift exchange is fun, if you keep the maximum-cost low.
One school had t-shirts printed up and given to yearbook staff; on the front it said “The Yearbook’s Done!” with some fun graphics, and the back said “Bought Yours Yet?” So it’s a gift and a walking billboard, too!
Often, the burst of adrenaline and satisfaction that comes from finishing is enough to power you through these tasks.
And, of course, anytime you are including food and beverages, you should be aware of any food allergies or preferences (gluten-free, vegan, etc.) your students have, and try to accommodate everyone.
However it looks, most of the party should be about students appreciating each other and appreciating their own hard work. However, we’d suggest that you, as Adviser, be sure to take time to make a heartfelt, sincere statement to your team. Closure is important, to them but also to you, and this is a great opportunity for affirmation and affection.
One last note: Don’t make your “wrap” party the first (and last) party you and your students have!
After the celebration: Ten things
The book is at the publisher; the celebration is over, so everything’s finished, right? Turn out the lights, the party’s over…
So be sure that your celebration really is over — the confetti’s all swept up and the snacks are all eaten or packed away — before you read this next part:
There’s more to do. Ten things, and maybe some others we missed.
Ten may seem like a lot, and we don’t want to kill your buzz. But our clients tell us that, for most of these things, doing it now is better than doing it in August. Often, the burst of adrenaline and satisfaction that comes from finishing is enough to power you through these tasks.
1. Do your final promotion and selling of the book.
2. Plan a yearbook Distribution Day (and maybe a signing party?).
3. Develop a plan to get student feedback about the book — what did they like, what could’ve been better? Get feedback from a full range of groups and grade levels.
4. Have your team write “thank you’s” to everyone — teachers, coaches, administrators and staff (and parents and maybe alumni!) — who helped with the book this year. Consider writing notes even to those administrators who didn’t help very much, just as a gentle nudge. And you’re creative people; develop creative notes!
5. Begin recruiting a staff for next year — and finding out who’s returning. This includes identifying and choosing leaders, editors, etc. and tweaking job descriptions.
6. Begin thinking about training your new staff.
7. Begin brainstorming with your team about next year’s theme, cover case, and other “big picture” topics.
8. Purge! Thoughtfully go through this year’s files, both digital and paper; archive anything worth keeping for future use, and get rid of the rest.
9. Restock: depending on your budget situation, now is the time to reorder materials and such for next year.
10. Begin planning fundraising for next year, and don’t wait until September to start selling ads. Taking a freshly-printed yearbook to show to a current (or new) advertiser is a great tool.
United Yearbook will be publishing blog posts on most of these topics in the next few weeks. As long as you need help, we’re here!
United Yearbook offers resources, curriculum, and on-site workshops on this and other topics. To learn more, contact us at info@UnitedYearbookPrinting.com or visit our website at www.unitedyearbook.net.
Dr. John Tuttle, Curriculum Specialist & Lecturer
Dr. John Tuttle is a lecturer for UYB’s in-class workshops, and also works with curriculum development, podcasts, and blog posts. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Biola University, where for ten years he was Director of Student Communications. For several years, Dr. Tuttle has also worked as an adjunct faculty member within Biola’s “great books” program.