The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Behind the lens: crafting high school memories with WCHS’ yearbook staff

Photo courtesy of Isabella Shahverdian
The eighth period yearbook class is seen brainstorming, compiling, and designing the pages that make up the fall spreads of the WCHS “Finest Hours” yearbook on Oct. 25, 2023.

It is the last week of school: senioritis cases are high, motivation for homework and assignments is low, and the WCHS yearbook is all around. Turning through the crisp pages of the new yearbook to find the long awaited features of oneself and friends, looking through the grade portraits and getting signatures from peers and teachers is a highlight of the end-of-school season. While students are preoccupied with studying, sports, clubs and jobs throughout the fall and winter seasons, the WCHS “Finest Hours” yearbook staff is hard at work producing the renowned yearbook.

The 2023-24 Finest Hours yearbook staff’s Editor in Chiefs (EICs) are WCHS seniors Laura Moore and Megan Demske. After spending the last three years as editors, they are putting the skills they learned to the test and adding their unique perspectives to the yearbook.

“Laura and I as EICs met with our advisor (Mrs. Perrett) and our representatives from Jostens over the summer,” Demske said. “We created the theme and cover along with our color palette. I then designed each page, making sure the theme was being carried throughout the whole book. It is a very tedious task but it is worth it in the end to see our work come to life.”

Past yearbook themes have varied from “On the Bright Side” and “Golden Hour,” to “In Retrospect.” This year’s theme is “For the Record,” playing around with the multiple definitions of the word ‘record.’

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“Our reasoning is we wanted to remind students that we are a school of excellence and that this year is only adding to that greatness,” Moore said. “This theme also lets us incorporate musical imagery and record player graphics. Churchill is full of overachievers and immense amounts of talent, so we wanted to highlight 2023-24 as a record year.”

Similar to other WCHS publications such as The Observer or The Literary Magazine, the yearbook team has a specific vocabulary that is vital for the staff to understand and utilize. One of these important terms is a page spread.

“A spread is a term we use a lot in yearbook. It is essentially two-facing pages that are both visible when the book is open,” Demske said. “One of my favorite spreads would have to be the travel spread. I love seeing all the interesting places people have gone and hearing what they have to say about them.”

The rest of the yearbook staff—such as WCHS sophomore Carly Yesnowitz—also have an important role in the yearbook production process, from spread formatting to interviewing.

“Throughout the yearbook, I take charge on specific spreads. I create captions and stories, as well as receiving photos and interviews from fellow Churchill students,” Yesnowitz said. “Although finding photos and interviewing people can be hard, we try our hardest to include everybody in the yearbook. This includes going to different classrooms or reaching out through texts or direct messages over social media.”

Since the yearbook requires such tight deadlines, there might be some continuity issues that arise. The spread about spring sports is a key example of this hurdle.

“The yearbook timeline is a little strange sometimes,” Moore said. “Spring sports are actually covered with photos, interviews and captions by the time school gets out. Basically, spring sports are featured in the book one school year after. If it was any different, the book would take an extra four-to-five months to be printed.”

For Demske, being the co-EIC of the “Finest Hours” has been a particularly fulfilling experience, allowing her to exercise her creativity and problem solving skills.

“I think my proudest moment would have to be the work I’ve accomplished this year,” Demske said. “In past years, I have only put elements on the pages instead of creating them, which meant that I did not have the background knowledge needed to actually design the book. I am happy that I have been able to overcome this challenge and create such visually pleasing pages while making sure the theme is flowing.”

Overall, the yearbook community extends past the staff that are involved in the editing process. The pictures, quotes and stories that are included in the spreads are representative of all the unique individuals that make up the WCHS family.

“I wholeheartedly believe that everyone who buys a yearbook, especially seniors, will be looking through it almost forever. It is a beautiful way to store memories in a way that they can hold on to forever,” Moore said. “Yearbook has taught me extreme patience and that not everything will go your way. I’ve learned a lot from the class, making friends and memories that I will always remember and look fondly back on.


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About the Contributors
George Chang, Features Editor
George Chang is a senior and one of the Features Editors for the Observer. His hobbies include discovering new music, going on long walks, watching Survivor and reading poetry. This is his third year taking journalism.
Julia Levi, Observations Editor
Julia Levi is a senior and the Observations Editor for The Churchill Observer. This is her third year taking journalism. Outside of the Observer, Julia enjoys listening to music, traveling, and reading. She also loves baking, hanging out with her friends, and watching her favorite TV shows “Suits,” and “Shameless.”

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