A Replay of the Rouse Replay Yearbook

A up-close look at how the yearbook really works
Junior staffer Skylar Reddington takes a photo in the theater dressing room before a practice performance.
Junior staffer Skylar Reddington takes a photo in the theater dressing room before a practice performance.
Stella Mcpherson

Amid the flurry of school days and extracurricular activities, the yearbook quietly takes shape, capturing moments both big and small that define the academic year. Behind the glossy covers and vibrant pages lies a meticulous process, a blend of passion, creativity and practicality. As sales near their end and deadlines loom, the yearbook staff embarks on a journey, not just to create a book, but to immortalize a year. 

Yearbooks are being sold for $85 and sales end on the last day of distribution. In actuality, the yearbook costs $79 to print. In the fall, the yearbook is sold for $65 and the price increases throughout the year. 

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“I know that seems like a lot of money, but that’s truly how much it costs to print a book,” Adviser Shelby Nickells said. “We don’t want to start the school year out with a yearbook costing $85 because we know not everyone can necessarily afford it. I like to compare it to the fact that this is something that you will have for the rest of your life and it’s about the price of a brand new pair of shoes.”

This year, 1100 yearbooks are being sold, with only 100 left to sell. This costs the program $96,000. The program is self-funding, so profit made from the previous year goes into paying for next year. 

 “Yearbooks are really important,” Nickells said. “It’s the only comprehensive, historical book of the entire school year. Even if people think that it might be an outdated practice or that they cost too much money. It’s still important because it means a lot to someone somewhere.”

There are five deadlines throughout the school year. Each deadline consists of submitting a certain amount of pages. Every time a signature, or 16 pages, is completed the printing company will go ahead and print them. By the end of the year, all of the pages that were printed throughout the year will be stitched together and shipped to the school. This allows the book to be printed on time for distribution.

“The program wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the kids,” Nickells said. “They’re spending hundreds of hours every school year putting together a book that’s not about them, but about everyone else for everyone else.”

There are 17 people on the yearbook staff this year. Every staffer has to write stories, captions, and take pictures for their assigned pages.

“My favorite part about the program is how welcoming everyone is,” sophomore and staffer Nolan Bond said. “We are all so kind to each other and support each other through thick and thin. It truly makes me feel special to be a part of the yearbook staff.”

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  • Adviser Shelby Nickells stands with her editors junior Zoe Clark, senior Hannah Thompson and senior Chelsea Perez.

  • Junior Stella Mcpherson takes pictures of theater in the dressing room.

  • Adviser Shelby Nickells holds awards for the yearbook with her editors junior Zoe Clark, senior Hannah Thompson and senior Chelsea Perez.

  • Staffers take a selfie during a photography contest.

  • Junior editor Zoe Clark smiles during a photo event.

The production of the yearbook takes about eight months in the actual school year, but starts early April the year before. For this year’s book, the theme and cover designs were fully developed in late April.

“It was just a collective effort of figuring out what we wanted in order to encapsulate the school year,” Nickells said. “So our yearbook theme this year really does emphasize what this school year is about.”

Junior and assistant editor Zoe Clark is a designer for the book, meaning she creates the basic layout for pages that staffers will later place content into. Staffers use Adobe products like Indesign to work on pages and use Photoshop and Illustrator to edit photos and create graphics.

“We had to come up with a theme and design standards basically from scratch,” Clark said. “It was really empowering to dictate what the only record of the 2023-24 school year would look like. Design is my passion, and it’s fulfilling to be able to create something, especially in a program that’s difficult for a lot of people to master.”

Senior and Editor-in-Chief Hannah Thompson and the other editors assist the staff with anything they need, on top of putting together their own pages.

“I’ve never been a natural leader,” Thompson said. “I’m usually more of the type of person to listen to someone else. So I wanted to bring myself out of my comfort zone, especially before going off to college. It was really scary. I was very anxious. But after the first few weeks and knowing that I’m capable of doing it, it’s definitely brought up my confidence.”

Buy your yearbook at jostens.com

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