How does West Linn High School’s award winning and nationally recognized yearbook program continue to excel among thousands of competitors? One way is team building. Each year, the yearbook staff goes through a ceremony that they call “The Wedding”, complete with vows of commitment to the yearbook, witnesses, a reception, cakes and a DJ.
“This symbolizes the seriousness and commitment of the staff,” Glenn Krake, yearbook adviser, said.
The yearbook staff vowed to “love, honor, cherish, and spellcheck the yearbook until publication or graduation do them part,” while Mark Martens, assistant principal, and Annikke Olsen, assistant principal stood by as the official witnesses. Peach rings were used in the ceremony. The reception was held later at an editor’s house, DJ included.
“We are like a family; we have fun, play hard and work hard,” Krake said.
They aren’t kidding about working hard. Along with working past the yearbook period and into afterschool hours, many members of the staff go to a yearbook camp over the summer.
“I have been to three yearbook camps,” Jillian Emken, sophomore, said. “Over 5000 yearbook kids come. It’s crazy.”
The result of their long hours is a nationally recognized yearbook. “The hard work can be stressful, but the payoff is huge,” Krake said.
In the past five years, yearbook has earned three All-American awards, the highest level that can be won, from the National Scholastic Press Association. Last year’s yearbook was honored with the second highest level, the First Class Award. “This is how picky the judges are: we got six points off for having different color portrait backgrounds,” Emken said.
Yearbook was also entered into the Colombia Scholastic Press Association and won the Gold Medal, also the highest award possible. Despite the thrill of winning awards, it all comes down to the yearbook staff’s love for what they do.
“It was our first time entering into that competition and we got the gold medal, so it was an honor,” Krake said. “The awards show our hard work; the wedding shows our commitment.”
This year’s yearbook is going to be sophisticated and classy, according to Krake. “There are lots of changes with the school this year, so there will be changes with the yearbook as well,” Krake said. “We have surprises up our sleeves.”