Chapter 1: Second Nature.
Hi, welcome to chapter one. As you can probably tell, this book is not a long one; it's really more of a short story. Weird as it may be, this is a book about creating other books, but as with all others, this story has a beginning and and end. It began with a girl bored of GSMST and it's people and fed up with having science and math shoved down her throat (although, what could she really expect at a STEM school?); it began the day she walked into Mr. Brown's room and became part of the Vanguard staff. That first book, called Second Nature, made her so proud that she couldn't wait to sign up again next year...but what was she to do when she noticed that Chorus was now being offered? One elective slot, to either be filled with her new past-time or her lifelong passion for music.
Chapter 2: Our Adventure
Chapter two starts the day of schedule pick-up day. Seemingly shocked, although she was the one who had requested the switch, the girl immediately went to the schedule change line; she wanted to take chorus, but she wanted to take yearbook (and be with her best friend) more. Once that was settled, it was back to the usual yearbook duties. Amidst her life falling apart, as many peoples' do during their Junior year, she helped design and put together one of the best yearbooks the school had ever seen; this one was called Our Adventure. This was the year she played the biggest role in the Vanguard staff, acting as a section editor, showing the newbies the ropes, and designing the staff t-shirt.
Chapter 3: First & Foremost.
If you have't picked up on it yet, "she" is me and this story eventually ends with a portfolio filled with my best (and worst) work from this year. But, that comes as the closing to chapter three. Chapter three was a good one, and as it's GSMST's 10 year anniversary, it's arguably the most important. What can really be said though? I worked hard(sometimes). I stressed. I made us a BOMB staff t-shirt. Frankly, I'd rather let my work speak for itself.
Three years ago, I signed up for yearbook for an "easy grade.
But that was then, and this is now, and now that the final chapter of this three-years-long-in-the-making book is wrapping up, here's a look at what I've been able to accomplish this year.
You may be wondering why I consider this the best. If you asked that question, I get it...it looks like any other spread. Well, remember the stress I mentioned? Let me set the scene: It's a Sunday night. The spread needs to be published tomorrow, but half of it is blank. Your partner flaked and left you to fill in image boxes with pictures that don't exist and text boxes with information that was never gathered. This spread was the product of that, and that's why it holds the spot as "best spread"; I consider it to be an accurate representation of what I am capable of producing under pressure and in terms of yearbook.
The highlight of this spread is definitely the pictures. Typically, the robotics spread is filled with mostly the VEX team and all the pictures are just different angles of them building bots; TSA is just a bunch of pictures of them planning and every now and then, building something. This year, I was able to get a wide range of pictures from a few very helpful TSA members and spent a few Saturdays attending FTC tournaments, making a more visually interesting spread and giving students a better look at what these clubs really do.
The copy of this spread is a really good one. Despite it being last minute and me not having a lot of knowledge about what goes on in TSA, I was still able to pretty accurately represent the history and greatness of both clubs.
This is one of my favorite modules I produced this year, primarily because I really like the concept my partner and I came up with for it. Many of the leading members of both TSA and Robotics are seniors who will be leaving GSMST in less than a month; we wanted to give them a chance to share their "final words" with the other members of their clubs, including their favorite memories or advice to their fellow team members.
It's a real talent to put something together last minute but not have it look like it.
Now, this spread isn't the worst I've seen by any stretch of the imagination, but if I could go back and redo it, it probably would not look ANYTHING like how it does now. I didn't like the topic of this spread to begin with because it could have easily became very sexist and stereotypical, but once we removed anything that could possibly be misconstrued, it left us with a very boring spread. This is the result of procrastination, the result of just putting things together without having a clear plan of what you ultimately want to produce. It is definitely better than our first draft, as we added an eye catching subhead and a gray strip behind to break up some of the white, but both the design and content of this spread still had the potential to be so much better.
There's nothing particularly bad about this module. It's just...boring. With better planning, we may have been able to think up more interesting questions or questions which are considered more "gender specific" (pardon my sexism..). We did, however, do a good job at being grade inclusive on this spread.
This subhead is almost laughably bad. Not only do I not understand what we were even trying to say, it also did a poor job of really saying what we were trying to accomplish with the spread. Given the chance, I would definitely write an entirely new one.
I CONTRIBUTED TO THE STAFF BY...
helping out whenever possible. Not only did I assist in producing some amazing spreads, I also did everything from teaching newbies how to take pictures and how to use Photoshop to creating my third staff t shirt (my best one yet, I have to say). I checked over spreads when needed. I scanned the index for possible issues when asked. I spent a whole class period playing paparazzi for the Super Intendent. I even, though I'm not sure how, essentially was able to create an entire spread in one night given nothing to work with.
However, I did face some hardships this year. As always, I dealt with lazy partners. As always, I frequently broke the most important yearbook rule: don't procrastinate. Trying to balance yearbook on top of SCE and getting into college was difficult, but the end result doesn't show it.
This year, once again, I learned the importance of collaboration.
Because I was trying to balance so much, it was very helpful to have other staff members willing to help; I learned that one person cannot handle doing everything. I learned that procrastination only adds stress to the situation and that if something is assigned three months in advance, I shouldn't wait until the day of to complete it (though, let's face it, I probably still will). I even learned a lesson or two about keeping my composure in frustrating situations and showed myself what I am capable of when push comes to shove.
My dedication to yearbook this year, and in all my years, is undeniable.
My Favorite Spread
Because this isn't a traditional spread, it wasn't required to follow all of the basic rules of design. Nevertheless, it is a very visually appealing and interesting spread that took a lot of planning to execute well. This spread was essentially created from scratch, so I believe it exemplifies some of my best work because it shows my design skills as well as creativity and organization.
This "letter" was the main focus of the spread and the part that took the most work to create. This is not a pre-designed element; I spend days in StudioWorks creating and perfecting it, down to the placement of the rings that connect the sides. Additionally, though it may appear that I wrote the letter myself, it is actually a combination of different quotes I collected. Finally, the goal of yearbook is always to cover as many people as possible, and in this spread, I was able to cover roughly 30 students!
I was able to capture a comical...
And Some Body Copy...
And Some Really Good Pictures...
This picture, though not shwoing any action, is a really captivating one, I believe. It makes use of good elements of composition such as rule of thirds and depth of field. I took it originally as part of a photo assignment, and I would have loved to put it to some use, but unfortunately the student dropped out before I was able to do so.
This is my favorite picture that I took this year; it's a shame we had no use for it! I took it at the first semester blood drive and was attempting to mimic a photo that was in the leading lines power point we were shown in class. It's slightly uncomfortable because he is looking right at the camera, but captivating because of his direct eye contact and the fact that he is in the process of doing something that could save a life. This pictures makes great use of depth of field, rule of thirds, and leading lines.
Taken at an FTC tournament, this is also one of my favorite pictures I took this year. Using framing, it draws the viewers eye directly to Prafel, who was one of the VEX participants to helped orchestrate the GSMST hosted tournament.
This picture is included because it captures true emotion; it shows seniors rooting on their classmates during the class v class game and was ultimately used on the spirit week spread.
This picture, which ended up being featured on the robotics and tsa spread, makes use of rule of thirds and keeping the "ball" in the shot. It shows enough of the robot to convey what the student is doing, but shows just enough so that the focus is not taken away from the actual person.
And A Module...
And Some Captions...
(all accompanies by pictures which I took)
And A Pretty Sick T Shirt...
My third, final, and best Vanguard Staff t shirt.
Regarding My Grade...
I currently have a 79 in yearbook.
I believe I deserve an A.
It's hard to argue for a grade because most teachers would say "if you deserved that grade, you would have it." I'm going to try, though. As described above, I put an incredible amount of effort and dedication into yearbook this year, and it shows. The spread that resulted in my low grade was Lit, which we deserved a low grade for. It was done very late and was obviously the product of last minute work. But, I completed four other spreads this year , two essentially by myself (both featured earlier as my best work), that turned out beautifully and were completed when they were supposed to be. I created a well-designed t shirt for the third year in a row. I helped out in any way possible. I have been, and still am, incredibly dedicated to helping create the best book and best experience for other members of our staff possible. I, hopefully, have been an asset to the Vanguard staff, and I do not believe that a 79 accurately represents that.
Most books have a prologue, and this one is no different. Here are my final words: Yearbook has been one of the highlights of my high school career. It gave me an outlet to express my creativity as there are very few at such a STEM oriented. It allowed me to produce three amazing books. I was even able to take the writing and photography skills I've learned and apply them to my SCE this year, which was the creation of my own fashion line. I learned the value of good collaboration skills and learned elements of design that I may be able to apply to my future career in the field of (hopefully) journalism and communication. Every now and then, I will probably look back on how my experiences in yearbook have prepared me for the next chapter of my life.
Chapter Four: Coming Soon