Students across the school religiously carry their 2016-2017 yearbooks as if they’re textbooks. The number flashes the word “SHINE” throughout the halls as students — seniors especially — rush to capture the school year’s memories in signatures from teachers and friends. None of this would be possible without the work on the yearbook staff.
“Depending on how many students we have apply and how competitive the year is, we make cuts for the class,” said yearbook teacher Kathy Beers. “We want a wide variety of team players who can dedicate a ton of time to the yearbook; it’s essentially a love letter to our school.”
Throughout the year, the yearbook staff compiled pages and spreads as events occurred; the event spreads in the book are organized into seasons. Each staff member is responsible for six or seven of these pages.
“When you get assigned a spread, you’re the one taking the pictures, writing the stories, and doing the page design,” said yearbook member Marisa Harris. “It’s a lot more work than it seems. Sometimes we even enlist Talon reporters for help on stories.”
Each year, the book is entered in national competitions. Last year’s book was recognized at a convention in Seattle, but many individual spreads were successful at the state level.
“It’s a big deal for us to have so many people’s spreads place at state,” said Beers. “It’s the equivalent of any athlete doing the same. It means we beat out everybody else.”
Regardless of competition, the yearbook staff has worked to go further than other schools; this includes this year’s addition of the light-up page at the beginning of the book with the word “SHINE.” This ties in with the book’s theme, “Shine Brighter Together,” which has become a mantra for some students in Timber Creek media. It even inspired pictures in the yearbook and in Talon promotion.
“The idea for the theme started with the fact that we wanted the book to light up,” said senior yearbook member Amanda Barber. “From there, we came to Let It Shine, but that was too much like the song, so we just started playing with phrases. That brought us to Shine Brighter Together. With our new principal, Donnie Bartlett, we figured the school would have a new vibe. The theme went to attest to Timber Creek’s fresh start.”
When the books arrived, yearbook members were disappointed to find that the company had messed up the light-up page. Rather than placing it in the front of the book, it was in the middle of the freshman section. The staff could have sent the books back to the company to have it fixed, but they wouldn’t have been back by distribution day.
“We got together one Saturday and spent over six hours carefully placing them back in the front of the book,” said Beers. “Parents and even students and advisors from other schools like Mansfield, Lakeridge, Lewisville, and Southwest Christian came to help.”
The yearbook staff successfully fixed their books, making for their first light-up page, which — according to the company — lasts up to eight years. Despite additions like this, yearbooks have remained the same price since Timber Creek opened.
“We hope it’ll last ten years,” said Beers. “With the light up, we try to be really innovative. We’re not going to do whatever another school district did last year. We’re trendsetters. Because of this, whenever we find errors, it kills us.”
The book has received criticism since its release from students who noted minor errors such as misspelled names and incorrect identification.
“I don’t think people understand that we’re just students trying to make the yearbook great,” said yearbook member Taylor Deker. “We’re going to make mistakes just like everybody else. But we spent countless hours trying to make it amazing.”