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The Heart Behind each Yearbook Adviser

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Find out what it takes to begin your journey as an adviser

When you take care of your team first, they become more motivated to excel.

Day one of our summer yearbook workshop, Making a House a Home, was perfect for introducing the heart behind being a yearbook adviser, and the process of creating a masterpiece. As the workshop attendees included a mix of seasoned and new yearbook advisers, we spent time getting to know one another as a foundation for the meeting. This allowed us to have an open space to ask questions. Our first speaker, Joon Kim has an extensive knowledge of yearbook advising, as he has been teaching this along with graphic design, video production and photography for the past 18 years. Joon reminded us that the yearbook class is not just about making the yearbook, but it’s about the team. Joon perceived his students as the leaders they will become, therefore creating an opportunity to develop future leaders with vision. He has led his staff in a way that gives them the freedom to choose responsibility. The students had a yearbook camp each summer for their team, planning and organizing everything themselves. Joon also has learned the value of taking care of his team, by providing food for them and rest days. Through this he has learned that when you take care of your team first, they become more motivated to excel. He shed light on the importance of casting a vision, the lasting effects of yearbooks, and how they are cherished for generations. When keeping their vision in mind, Joon’s team had a deeper motivation. Rather than their audience solely being the students at the school, it includes their family, future spouse, children, grandchildren and anyone they will choose to share this memory with.

Student leaders are empathetic and active listeners, and an adviser allows each student leader to understand their own role.

The second speaker of the day, Lucy McHugh, discussed the importance of securing good partnerships around the school, while recognizing the strongest partnerships are with the students. Lucy advocates advisers to develop strong communication skills and protocols with their staff members, complying with and utilizing the school’s formal communication channels as well as its social media. She also advocates for yearbook staff to manage all student communication on popular social media platforms. This will allow students to utilize their digital knowledge and skill sets to advance yearbook events, promotions, and page spread productions. Lucy proceeded to share qualities to look for in student leaders. She is observant of students that are eager to learn, those who are dependable, and who have a history of perseverance and trustworthiness. Leaders need to be empathetic, active listeners and comprehend their role in the larger picture. Along with this, communication is a quality to look for in student leaders. They must be dependable, with a growth mindset. Student leaders are empathetic and active listeners, and an adviser allows each student leader to understand their own role. Lucy valued the idea of restorative justice and its importance to the team. The class needs to be organized in a way that when mistakes happen, and problems arise, students will own their mistakes and take responsible steps to find the solutions.

The delegation of roles can be handled with more wisdom when there is an understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses

The final speaker for Day One was Sarah Y. Tse. The topic of her instruction centered on understanding the dynamics of a yearbook team. Sarah told advisers to understand that people have different approaches to accomplishing a goal. To illustrate her point, Sarah guided us in taking a personality test so we could see for ourselves why we approach problems in different ways. Sarah cautioned attendees that because of the way our personalities direct how we work, an unfair balance of work often occurs in a team setting. The delegation of roles can be handled with more wisdom when there is an understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Day one closed out with people asking additional questions about the curriculum, and sharing tips on how to specifically organize a class.

I was inspired by Joon’s comment on a yearbook’s lasting influence. From my personal experience with yearbooks from my junior high and high school years, I loved getting the brand new book each year, and opening it up to see myself and my friends inside. In fact, years later, my friends and I will look into our yearbooks to find a former classmate, and often spend much more time than intended reminiscing. With wistfulness, we comment on friends whom we no longer have contact, or we speak of those friends we have grown much closer to since graduation. Overall, the speakers for Day One of Making a House a Home Conference successfully shed light on the importance of the yearbook creation to the school community now and in the future, and the goal to create a yearbook of impeccable quality.

I hope this has been of some help. United Yearbook regularly offers workshops and resources on multiple topics, for both new and experienced advisors. To learn more, visit our website at

Contributor: Alexis Anderson is an intern as a brand development managing editor at TSE Worldwide Press. She is a senior at Biola University, studying English with an emphasis in writing, along with a minor in Biblical Studies. Alexis aims to inspire others through her words and character.

Co-editor: Miss Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing via a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former yearbook adviser at Xavier College Preparatory High School. She earned 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 taught K-12 Art and was awarded the 2001 Nebraska Art Teacher of the Year, and in 2010 she was awarded Nebraska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. Most recently Lucy was awarded the 2017 CA High School Art Teacher of the Year.

Co-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 live cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as a freelance editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.


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