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Love & the Yearbook

Updated: Feb 28

Little hearts have the word, "love" written on them in different languages.

We all speak the language of love. Love and kindness are an integral part of the school community! Find them in the whispered conversations between students or loudly proclaimed in acts of kindness and the creative expressions of art, literature, music, science projects, and more. Students need to see the goodness in their community and have that legacy recorded in the yearbook.

The kids were thoroughly invested in meeting the needs and supporting the local community. 

How did our school exhibit the acts of kindness and record them in the yearbook?  We started with the usual volunteer opportunities that schools participate in, blood drives and food drives. But we also participated in a unique and special program through our local church. During the Christmas season, we adopted families that needed assistance and provided resources to meet those needs. We were a house government system, and each of our houses was responsible for meeting the needs of about 2-3 families, who had provided a list of their needs and wants. At every step in the process, the students took responsibility and cared deeply for these families. The students organized themselves to make sure the items were delivered promptly and properly, while others took the extra time to wrap and label gifts. These students wanted the gifts to be as special as if they were going under their own trees. The kids were thoroughly invested in meeting the needs and supporting the local community. 

Another  "Love" story” that occurred was our volleyball team's awareness of social needs. Though heartbreaking, it is a testament to the power of love. They sponsored Breast Cancer Month and brought attention to other specific causes. There was a child in our community that had a crippling disease. She and her family were members of one of our supporting churches. The volleyball team adopted this girl, and made her the center of attention: they brought her to the games and celebrated her birthday. It was a blessing that they did, for this young girl passed away before the end of the year. This team experienced grief and loss, but their love and compassion shone in the darkness. 

Students are seen holding their free senior t-shirts

A loving example of kindness to include in the yearbook is if you have a unique situation where a student or student(s) shine in their passion for a project. During the pandemic, one of my art students wanted to share her love for her classmates. She approached the yearbook staff members because she believed they would help her bring her vision to reality. This student designed a special T-shirt that represented all they had endured that traumatic year. The students took control of the project, went to the administrators, received their approval, and as a result, ALL of the seniors received a free t-shirt!! 

Watch as positivity, kindness, and love become infectious.

Just like this art student of mine, other students have a passion for many different things. How can you spotlight these? Create a page called "Catch Them Doing Something Good" and showcase the interesting, varied stories where the student body shines! Every person needs to feel like they belong and can be their best selves. This is THE reason it is so valuable and purposeful to include as many faces in the yearbook as possible, and in as many unique ways as possible. Interview students, staff, and faculty. Find out what they love to do, see, and hear. Watch as positivity, kindness, and love become infectious.

At the core of their human nature, the students cared for each other. Kindness and love may need to be pulled out of them, encouraged, even challenged to come out. But given the opportunity, students step up and show they are capable. They are shining examples of finding compassion within ourselves. If we give them space in the yearbook to elevate their acts of kindness, they will feel affirmed. It is a gift to be reminded today of the person they are currently. Later, in the future, when they pull out their yearbook, they will be reminded and also see their growth over the years. It will be a record for their children and grandchildren, a legacy that continues. After all, "The yearbook is a love letter we write to our school" (Pat Conroy) and to our families and communities.

Thank you for allowing me to share my experience. United Yearbook offers resources, curriculum, and on-site workshops on a variety of topics. Contact or visit our website at to find out more. 

Copyright © 2024. TSE Worldwide Press. All Rights Reserved.

Former yearbook adviser, Lucy McHugh.

Contributor: Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing from a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former visual art teacher and yearbook adviser. She received a Bachelors of Science in Art from Columbia College in Columbia, SC, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000, and in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy enjoys her family, making art and gardening.

Article editor, Donna Ladner.

Editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and lived cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as an editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.

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