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Yearbook Class Finds Creative Ways to Inform, Involve School Community

Yearbook Class
Mr. Haecker's Yearbook Class teaches a variety of skills that students can use at school and beyond. Photo by Peter Day
Students will be in for several fun surprises when they get their yearbooks later this spring. There will be the perennial favorites: pictures of  students, senior photos and quotes, teachers, support staff, and an array of sports team photos. But there will be so much more.
There will be a Teacher Hall of Fame, Senior Hall of Fame, Sports Hall of Fame, even freshman, sophomore, junior class halls of fame, and more. There will be an extensive photo collage, student polls and other elements to bring the school community onto the pages of the yearbook.
“We don’t want to do the same thing every year,” says yearbook class advisor Mr. Michael Haecker.
Yearbook is a Career Technical Education (CTE) class designed to teach students a wide variety of job-related skills: page design, graphic design, writing and photography and more. Class members are regularly seen around campus taking pictures of sporting events or visiting other school events. Recently, the students took photos of the basketball team players using professional lighting.
“Everybody’s taking pictures,” he says. “This is their yearbook. I’m just here to help.”
An important concept that Mr. Haecker explains to his students is that a yearbook is something that people keep for their entire lives. “It’s for the ‘later’, not for the ‘now’, I tell them. We’re telling a story. You’re creating memories.”
The class also has a club. The officers of the Yearbook Club are Savannah Porter (president), Francisco Leaños (vice-president), Devin Walker (treasurer), and Gage Gonzales (secretary).
Yearbook staff members use a variety of provided tools. But Mr. Haecker is open to whatever works best for the creator. Francisco Leaños uses the drawing app ProCreate on his iPad to sketch and paint elements for the publication. “I use it on a daily basis, so it was a no-brainer” says the graphic artist/ illustrator who is planning on going to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena after getting his required classes out of the way at VVC. 
Francisco Leano
Francisco artwork
Francisco Leaños uses the ProCreate app on iPad to create graphic artwork.


For this year’s cover, the Yearbook Club held a contest and received a number of impressive art entries. Sophomore artist Shania Tierce won with an amazing drawing of a horse.
And that embodies the spirit of the yearbook. “It involves everybody. I like to get everybody involved.”
The Yearbook staff is also reaching out to the community — and the community is responding — by selling advertisements that will appear on the pages of the yearbook. The ad revenue pays for extra pages.
Before landing at the Middle High School, Mr. Haecker was involved in manufacturing, blueprinting, 3D modeling, along with utilizing several computer programs including Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Mr. Haecker also teaches a CTE graphic arts class, the first offered by the school. Next year, the graphic arts class will be a prerequisite to get into Yearbook. 
Student working
A student works on the yearbook publication.


This year’s yearbook has 112 pages and most of them are complete. Already, a number of yearbooks have been sold. “We’ve sold 90 yearbooks so far.  More than likely we’ll sell out.”
Production-wise the yearbook is “way ahead of schedule” and soon the staff will be proofing the final product. “We’re still working on little bits and pieces,” Mr. Haecker says, “but we’re getting close.”
The class is waiting for just a few elements, mainly photos. “It’s a lot of jumping around. It’s just the little details and these pages can be pushed through.”