Behind the Scenes: Yearbook


Courtesy of the bsmsaangral Instagram

Members of the yearbook decorate the annual yearbook Christmas tree.

Among the plethora of unique classes Benilde-St. Margarets has to offer, one of the most distinct and collaborative courses is yearbook. Instead of a class centered around grades, yearbook is focused on creating a book that celebrates and showcases what it means to be a Red Knight.

The BSM yearbook, also known as the BSM Sangraal, provides a creative outlet for students in grades 10-12. The class bridges the gap between grade levels and allows students of different ages to form bonds. From taking pictures to editing spreads (2 pages in the yearbook), this course relies heavily on teamwork.

Responsibility grows the longer one has been a part of the yearbook. As a first year student, responsibilities mainly focus on taking pictures and putting together spreads you have been assigned.

Although they still work on their own pages, editors and editors-in-chief are also responsible for monitoring the spreads. “We oversee work, and we taught everyone how to use our technology that we use to make it. And then we do final edits on all spreads,” senior Editor-in-Chief Audrey Peterson said.

An editor is an important role in the yearbook classroom because they are the ones ensuring everyone’s work is error free and ready to submit to Jostens (the publisher). If one wants to become an editor, they fill out an application of interest. Yearbook advisor Katie Belanger then chooses who she thinks would best fit the roles. “There’s not just one thing that makes a great editor in a yearbook. A great editor needs to have positive communication skills, an eye for organization, [and] the ability to multitask and stay focused,” Belanger said.

There’s not just one thing that makes a great editor in a yearbook. A great editor needs to have positive communication skills, an eye for organization, [and] the ability to multitask and stay focused,

— Katie Belanger

Junior Maggie Mullin, an editor for the yearbook, thinks that the workload is doable if one keeps on task. “We have a majority of the class time to work on the pages, so sometimes I work on this stuff outside of school but not often…Typically we finish our pages in class. I wouldn’t really say it carries out of class that much,” Mullin said.

Unlike most classes, this course is not grade heavy. For the most part, if you stay on task, you are eligible for an A. However, the pressure of making a good yearbook can be daunting. “[There is] pressure in the sense that you want people to like the yearbook, and you want the design to be something everyone will like, not just for a selective group of people. But we have so many people on our staff, and teachers and editors are so supportive that if you do something wrong, someone’s going to catch it,” Mullin said.

Staff members also face pressure to produce a yearbook that will appeal to and represent everyone as a BSM community. Though the majority of students and their families enjoy the yearbook, there are inevitably some negative opinions, especially from parents. “Naturally, because it is a student-created publication and we account for human error, sometimes we make mistakes. We try to do our best and make everyone feel a part of the BSM community.” Belanger said.
In the yearbook class, everything leads up to distribution day when the yearbook is handed out to the rest of the school. It takes place in the Great Hall and students can go and pick up their yearbook. “Everyone’s super excited. There’s a lot of excitement] to get their yearbook, to see which photos you’re in, where you are, and sometimes can be chaotic with that much energy,” said yearbook editor Gabby Lenzmeier.

With the excitement of handing out the yearbooks, it’s also a big deal to complete the process as a whole. “When everyone is actually reading the yearbooks and seeing your photos, it’s super exciting for our entire staff to see their work come to life on a page,” Lenzmeier said.

When students receive their yearbooks at the end of the year, few people really think about all the elements and hard work that goes into trying to get everyone in the book. “I think what makes a good yearbook is getting coverage for each student and not having the same group of people in it. Covering every club and sport in the yearbook and having good stories that aren’t too dull … while having good design elements and pictures [is important],” Mullin said.

Although creating a quality product is an important part of the class, the sense of community found in this class is unmatched. “It’s a really great environment and you can meet so many new people. I met a lot of senior friends… and the teacher is amazing,” junior editor Delaney Chapman said.