All in a Day's Work Armand Gillam

Greetings to the gracious Mr. Brown and numerous readers,

I am one of the several new members to the Vanguard Yearbook staff for the group’s ten-year anniversary Edition of the Yearbook, First & Foremost. As a novice in the practice of making a yearbook, or any book for that matter, there was a lot of processes and techniques for me to learn and digest in order to be an important contributor to this year’s edition. It was easy to be overwhelmed. But as time went on, I found out how enjoyable it was being a part of the yearbook team. The reality of contributing to one the school year’s most important cultural pieces is a highly regarded privilege I was glad I could undertake. In retrospect, working in yearbook has allowed for me to flex the creative muscles of my cranium and accomplish something meaningful for my school. By the end of my experience on the yearbook staff, I was an accomplished photographer, in my personal opinion, who was capable in taking intriguing photos. And I did it all in a day's work.

Top left photo: a student takes notes as she listens to Mr. Hersch's lesson over industrial America; Top Right: A young girl catches up on engineering homework as her newly constructed bridge overlooks her work.; Bottom: Coach Rawlings shares the plan of attack with his team of Juniors, on their basketball match against the sophomores.

All During the Rocky Start

Yearbook was not easy at first and it was only through time that I was able to get better. Sadly, this did not all happen in one day.

As a newbie to standard photography, I was required to learn the proper techniques and skills that were accompanied with role of photographer for the yearbook. Between the rules of threes to the classic framed shot, taking the lens cap off the camera seemed liked like challenge itself. And in most of my photos it was the main challenge. There was a lot of weight to the idea of taking a person’s picture close up during instructional time. It also did not help that most of the time, I was shaking so badly the images nearly always came out blurry. . The end result: low quality pictures. Naturally, I decided to take a break from the camera, but words did not even provide me with the break I needed.

the picture captions that I was charged with writing would have been better supervised by a ten-year-old. The captions were spectacularly boring and manged to turn the most colorful picture into a paint drying event. Those were some dark days. But after the sun pronounces a new day, it was time for beginnings to change routine. It was time to assemble my best work.

Although I would crown it as my best piece of work, the social studies spread is the main spread that I believe could still use improvements. The spread represents too small of a sample size. It should have been expanded more so that it would include freshmen. Also, I would have liked to have included Econ pictures. But then again if I had taken a picture for Econ in the past, there was a high likely hood the picture would end-up looking like an oil painting dipped in a river, dried with an old dusty fan, and finished with a thin coat of dirt (it would have been just bad). In terms of captions, the spread had decent sub header titles, but they were not stylistically good enough. Before they were the poorest of cheesy puns. They could not even quality for a lame dad joke at best. The captions were highly undescriptive at best and redundant at the worse. The only silver lining was that the copy was not written yet. If it was, I think nothing could have saved that spread…

The old, incomplete, poor, and down right terrible social studies spread. (Lay your eyes upon and cry, for its lack of taste.) The spread lacks content, and it has too few pictures. Also the pictures that are actually good are of poor quality.

But as fate would have it, the spread was not only rescued, but redeemed. In comparison, the final version was a masterpiece. Firstly, the photos became actual photos for once. At the displeasure of others, I was able to get close-ups on the actions of the collective student body. For the first time, I could actually see hope in the eyes of certain people (and to be frank, there was not much of it). My favorite section of the social studies spread was the feature module. It was an interview done by yours truly. The person interviewed was no other than Dr. Bill Cossen: three times winner of jeopardy and social studies teacher at Gwinnet School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. The interview was centered on the event of the then “Mr. Cossen” receiving his doctoral degree. The interview was true sentiment to Dr. Cossen’s devotion to both history and teaching “his expansive knowledge into the ‘craftable minds’ of his young students.”

The social studies spread once the book was published. The spread had improved vastly from its original version. For one, it is complete, it has more pictures from a variety of grade levels. However, design wise, I think it was generic. But it did accommodate for the amount pictures that the spread had.
A close up on the featured module about doctor Cossen's journey to receive his doctoral degree and how it felt reaching his dream.

All the fruits of my labors

Personally, I do not think that I have the right to determine if I was an asset for the Vanguard Staff, but I do believe that I was a benefit to the production of the yearbook. Not based on personal opinions, but based on my works.

Rather it be because of skill or availability, I was responsible for including some of the pictures that are included in the year currently.

Caption: German III

"Putting on the Show. With dazzling passion, Sama Sami, Kevin Chen, and Adelina Lupu perform their authentic drama skit during Mr. Burse's German III class. During the skit, Sama and Adelina visited an establishment cafe hosted by Kevin, who offered a selection of delectable foods. But a certain question pops into their minds: " Who is going to pay for this?"

This picture is included in the Foreign Language spread and it depicts a drama skit. The picture and the captions were done personally by myself.

The picture on the left was taken by myself, however, I did not write the caption for the photo. The photo on the right was also taken by yours truly.
Both of the depicted photos were taken for the social studies spread. The picture on the left was taken during a debate for GMO's in AP Human Geography. While on the right, Mr. Hersch's AP U.S. History (APUSH) class listens intently on a lecture about american industries in the early industrial revolution.

Caption: AP Human Geo. debate:

"GM Oh No! With a cool and impartial head, Zabilon Dessalegn acts as a judge as his fellow classmates discuss their claims relating to the use of GMOs. The two sides, Pro-GMO and Anti-GMO, were expected to give a square presentation on their data and convince the other side of their views"

Caption: APUSH

"Pulling in the Knowledge. Yea Eun Ahn and Ufuoma Thaddeus diligently listen and occasionally chuckle to Mr. Herschs lecture over the newly industrial United States and how it affected peoples lives and food."

In retrospect, I contributed to only a small part of the yearbook's final product. The pictures picked were only a small sample of my personal best pictures. The other photos taken by myself were, in my opinion, the best pictures that I possessed. The rest of the photos become repetitive in the angles taken.

Featured Module: Trends: What's Hot and What's Not.

The then popular trends (Bottle Flip, Dabbing, and Running man) were asked by a few students and they posted their opinions of the topic. While some liked the trends when asked about them, others simply decided that they were, "Not hot."

In the "What's hot and What's Not " module, I took only a small portion of the photos and helped with the artistic design according to my partner's design. Other than a few changes, I mostly did the "manual work" following his model

All in Written Works

My favorite body copy that I wrote for the yearbook was for the Spirit Week spread. The copy for the Spirit Week was designed to be exciting to encamps the essences of spirit week. As a result, I attempted to make the copy just energetic and positive.

Spirit Week Copy:

The copy was written by me and edited by my partner. Eventually I revised a few points in the beginning and end of the copy before the spread was published.

It was a fantastic week leading up to the schools own festive fall dance, with Monochrome as the theme. Everyone, according to Christian Coulter, "open[ed] themselves up and enjoyed their time at school a little more." Patriotism was at an all-time high during Merica Monday. With matching shirts,pants, and even hair styles, Twin Tuesday made it hard to distinguish betweenbest friends. Students brought the fictional world to life, from Dr. Seuss favoritesto Dragon Ball Z, on Character Wednesday. Thursday looked like a scene from an 80s jazzercise video, filled with neon pink, yellow, and green. Then came Friday, game day. Freshmen wore white, and sophomores dressed in gray. Juniors donned all blue outfits, and seniors were decked out inall black. Fire filled everyones eyes. anticipation lined everyones hearts, and cheers bounced off the walls. Players were eager to demonstrate their skill, and each class hoped their support would lead their teams to victory. There was a free throw contest and an unexpected dance-posal. The freshmen played the seniors and then the juniors played the sophomores. Usually, the final game comes down to juniors versus seniors, but not this year. The final game came down to sophomores versus seniors. Tension ran high as the double overtime was coming to a close, but by one close point the sophomores won the game and were crowned champions of the Class vs. Class tournament. In all, Spirit Week was an annual success. Many can agree with Dean Munir Yusuf when he said that, Spirit Week is a good time for students to dress up and show spirit toward the occasion. It was clear as day that he and many others await the next chance to show case their spirit

Class vs Class Game Day

Although this picture was not as close as I wanted to be, I can feel the intensity as the freshmen try to hold their own against the seniors. The action is paused at a moment where anything can happen and it leaves one to only wonder.

Neon Thursday

Character Wednesday

This photo is a nice close up view that has the arm being the leading line into the picture. The confidence and emotion is easily determined to be light and whimsical. I wished that this picture was able to make into the yearbook.

Twin Tuesday

This group shot has a nice repetitive element that is artistically thought out. The photo has an asymmetrical balance to it from both sides of the photo. For this group, there are quintuplets rather than twins.

'Merica Monday

All of a Day's Results

Overall, my work throughout the school year had ended at a pretty stable 84%. And looking back on my year, that is a really generous. Personally, I felt as though I was not helpful in what ever I did. My ideas were not creative enough or were my thoughts clear enough.

Eventually, I fell into a sort dark place and as a result my performance suffered. Simple photos were not as I desired and I it became harder to stay focused on what needed to be done instead of what had to be done. I looked for work in the wrong directions and I eventually started to over work myself in some regards.

A Short Gallary of Some of my Favourite Photos

These pictures were some of the best parts of yearbook, and I am glad I took them even if they were not included in the final project.

As luck would have it, the light at the end of the tunnel finally showed itself. The end of the spreads and projects were in sight, and I focused not on the process, but instead on how to get the results. I became more assertive in my dates, and more personal with the photos. I would see the world in a new eye behind the camera and each shot became a vision.

While my time in yearbook was fun and stressful (mostly stressful) I, for the first time in a long time, was a part of project that truly mattered to more than one person. It was a project that mattered to one community.

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