Warren Mott memories in the making
Yearbook tradition already in progress
By Maria Allard
Posted October 23, 2013
WARREN — It’s an annual ritual that occurs at the end of every school year: the highly anticipated distribution of yearbooks.
Eager high school students pick up their once-a-year books and skim through them, tear through them, study them, curl up with them, sign them and hang on to them forever as a treasured keepsake.
The entire school year is frozen in time as candid photos of classmates decorate each page, highlighting academics, athletics, student life, teachers and everything in between.
At Warren Mott High School in Warren Consolidated Schools, 42 students are already working on the 2013-14 yearbooks that will be distributed in May.
Under teacher and advisor Kelli Otto, the students — enrolled in Yearbook I, II and III — have coordinated their skills to create this year’s yearbook from the beginning. Some students even met over the summer to start the planning process.
“They work nonstop year-round,” Otto said, adding the students all have individual pages of the books for which they are responsible.
Overseeing this year’s project every step of the way are editors Lina Ksar and Shelby Keck, with Kristy Hajjar as assistant editor. Every detail is covered by all three seniors.
“It gets stressful at times, but overall, I love it. We get stuff done,” Ksar said. “I like being a part of the making of it.”
The yearbook staff also consists of an ads and design team, a marketing team, section editors, a treasurer and article editors. Senior Ronnie Darmis was tapped to be photo editor, giving him the ideal outlet to pursue his passion for photography.
Tucked behind Otto’s classroom is the yearbook lab, where the magic happens during the sixth-hour class. Computers line a narrow cove, where students put pieces of the yearbook together page by page with the e-design program. Behind the scenes, teamwork is essential.
“We all have to communicate,” Ksar said.
In an effort to stay on top of things, the students use what is called a “wall ladder.” It’s basically an oversized chart hung on a wall that contains lists of sections that will make up the yearbook.
“We have to figure out everything that is happening within the school,” Otto said. “We organize it before we put it in the computer.”
Last year’s theme was comic books, but staff is keeping this year’s theme a secret for now, although Otto gave a little hint.
“It’s focused on where they are going after Warren Mott,” she said.
“The students try to include a little bit of everything,” inside the yearbooks, Ksar said. The annuals give the student body a peek into school clubs, organizations, homecoming, pep rallies, “Spirit Week,” Winning Futures, Link Crew and more. Of course, there are the standard head-and-shoulders photos that make up the senior, junior, sophomore and freshman classes. An entire page dedicated to fashions, including students who make their own clothing, is a new idea this year.
“We added an alumni page and inspirational teachers,” Ksar said. The teacher feature will include dedications to faculty who students feel “pushed them the hardest” or “specifics of someone they look up to in their building.”
Another large part of the book are the “folio” pages that appear in a strip at the bottom of each page. They feature random photos of students and answers to a survey made by the folio team of seniors Zach Stevens and Andrea Prenkocevic, and juniors Celeste Frank and Viktoria Sopek. The group interviews students throughout the building on various topics about school and takes their pictures. That information then becomes part of the folio.
At press time, the Marauders were working on their first deadline for Oct. 18. The yearbook is printed in sections.
“We have a set number of pages that have to be done,” Ksar said. “This deadline is mainly sports because all the sports are starting up. Every page, we have an article, caption and pictures.”
Students in the program must pass several prerequisites, including undergoing an interview, a journalism class and obtaining a teacher’s recommendation.
Because of a scheduling conflict, junior Halimat “Hali” Olaniyan is not part of the yearbook staff but volunteers her time when she can. Her personal yearbook collection dates back to preschool.
“I bought one every year,” she said. “I love looking at how people change and grow. It’s cool to look back at the memories.”
Books sell for $70 each. Students solicit advertising from local businesses to help with yearbook costs. Fundraisers also are held.
The yearbook is published through Herff Jones, which has offices nationwide. Greg Morrison, hired through the publishing company, is Warren Mott’s representative and is available for questions the students might have. A total of 760 yearbooks were sold last year.
About the author
Staff Writer Maria Allard covers the school districts of Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Warren Woods, and Macomb Community College for the Warren Weekly newspaper. She also covers northeast Detroit, the City of Harper Woods and the Harper Woods District Schools for the Advertiser Times newspaper, and the City of Grosse Pointe Woods and the Grosse Pointe Public Schools System for the Grosse Pointe Times newspaper. Allard has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University, and she is a huge Rolling Stones fan.
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