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Recognizing Excellence: Honoring the Contributions of Your Yearbook Staff

Updated: Apr 29

Yearbook students seen celebrating together

The yearbook is complete, and you are waiting for its final delivery and distribution. While waiting, seize the moment to celebrate the accomplishments of your staff. Many have extended themselves above and beyond, and deserve recognition of their hard work and dedication.

Spotlight on Your Senior Team

The first students to recognize are your seniors. You have options to address these special students, such as a group letter to graduates, a video, or an individual personal letter to reflect on their important contributions.

The content of the message reflects your appreciation. Express your wishes for their success, the optimism and hope for their future endeavors, and how they have been positive influencers among their peers. Remind them of how they have improved in using their voices to express their messages, and the value of their contributions. Reflect on their successes and failures, and the lessons they have learned from that growth. 

Express your gratitude for what they have taught you, their impact on the team, and the valuable artifact and one-of-a-kind record they have compiled in the yearbook. Yearbook class is challenging and has many layers. There are high expectations and many complicated steps. It is not unusual to have hurt feelings, short tempers, or miscommunications. If you need to apologize, now is the time. And now is the time to give credit where credit is due! 

Recognize Your Entire Staff 

Once the seniors have been acknowledged, celebrate the rest of the staff! Cherish their hard work, and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts with any or all of the following suggestions: 

  • Pizza, finger foods, soda. Host a celebratory pizza party. Spend time during the party thanking each student for their work and consider handing out printed awards.   

  • Oscar Movie Premiere. Provide the popcorn, fire up the laptop, and project the yearbook on the screen! Illuminate each spread and lead the cheer. Use similar categories as the Oscars to give awards for best spread, best headline, best photo, etc.

  • If you want to be formal, hold a ceremony requiring semi-formal dress, and include invitations for parents, administrators, teachers, staff and coaches, and anyone who supported and assisted the yearbook staff. Be creative: give mini speeches, give out awards, and "pass the baton" from this year's editors to the next. 

  • Create a pictorial mini-yearbook (paperback) with a few messages/notes of appreciation to the staff, at no cost.

  • Host a "secret Santa" style gift exchange with a low cost margin.

  • Print T-shirts to give to the yearbook staff. Make it fun with a particular "slogan" representative of this year's staff or a dual-purpose message as a marketing tool and fun graphic t-shirt.

Bittersweet Endings

Whichever way you communicate, it is important as the Adviser to make heartfelt, sincere statements to your team in the final months of school. You and the staff need the closure. End well and on a very positive note. As a final teaching moment, say goodbye in a caring, thankful, and gracious manner. Why not take a few minutes out of your class period to share these sentiments with the entire staff? Share your appreciation for their contributions and how you could not have accomplished the yearbook without them. Express your admiration for specific page spreads and the students who made them come to life. Let them know that, though you were their teacher, they were the ones who taught you so much. Ensure that their yearbook legacy will be carried on for years to come. 

Former adviser Heather Malone, in a speech to her students, said, “Thank you so much. I could not put together a yearbook without my staff. I’ve learned something from each one of you, and I will carry that into the next year. I’m proud of it, and I hope you are too.” Her students, “thanked her for all her sunshine.” These are the moments that will leave a lasting impact on your staff members and are necessary for both you and them.

United Yearbook offers blogs on a wide range of topics. In addition, there are resources such as curriculum, and year-round workshop on this and other areas. Make sure to subscribe to our blog and our newsletter, and visit our website at to learn more!

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


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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