Yearbook distribution week resurfaces community memories from school year


Photo credit: Lucy Williams

Journalism adviser Kristin Taylor helps publications staff members organize the yearbooks while grades six through 11 line up to receive them Wednesday, May 24. Community members signed each other’s yearbooks to reflect on the year before summer break.

By Lucy Williams, Voices Editor

Hearth: the theme of Archer’s 2023 yearbook, which signifies a warm place to ignite the sparks that are Archer students. Archer’s 10-person yearbook staff has worked on the 248-page book since August 2022.

The yearbook documents each season, campus groups, sports teams, student and faculty portraits, senior pages and student tributes. This week, the staff revealed the finished book and distributed copies to community members who purchased one.

Seniors received their yearbooks during lunch Tuesday, May 23. The distribution was one of the Wednesday activities celebrating Senior Week, which is their last week at Archer. The Class of 2023 bonded over yearbook signings and memories as the publications staff distributed the books in the library. Grades six through 11 picked up their yearbooks Wednesday, May 24, in the courtyard.

Since some students purchased accessories or personalization on their book’s cover, publications staff members sorted the books by grade level and customization. Students were required to return all books they had checked out from the Archer library before picking up a yearbook.

The yearbook staff recently switched from Balfour to the Jostens yearbook publishing company to produce their yearbooks. Assistant Layout and Design Editor Emma Winkler (’25) said the staff had to learn how to navigate their new publication process alongside designing the book. Every year, the yearbook team starts their designing process during a summer boot camp, establishing the theme package, colors and fonts.

“When we were creating our theme package, a lot of our inspiration came from Diptyque, the candle company, so we have lots of ovals, arches and double lines — almost like a Grecian theme,” Winkler said. “There are a lot of different shades of blues, whites and bright or mustard yellows. It all looks really amazing and worked super well together.”

Sixth grade math teacher Jillian Faucett has been teaching at Archer for five years, so she has witnessed many yearbook distribution days. She said she admires the dedication the yearbook team puts into making sure everybody’s name is spelled correctly and into having a theme that represents the past year.

“The eighth graders definitely get really excited about it,” Faucett said. “The first thing they do is flip through the pages and try and find themselves as many times as they can. Then, it’s that screech of, ‘Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed,’ but they actually love that they’re in it. It’s fun to watch them delight in looking back and seeing where they’re being represented in the yearbook.”

Around the distribution tables in the courtyard, students of all grades gathered to sign each other’s yearbooks and write notes to their friends. Some students also asked faculty to sign their books. Faucett said, from a teacher’s perspective, she admires the yearbook-signing tradition because she gets to leave her students with gratitude for her time with them.

“There are so many traditions that have changed over time, with technology, but there’s nothing like signing somebody’s yearbook and having a capsule of the relationship you had with that person,” Faucett said. “As a teacher, when a student asks me to sign a yearbook, it’s a symbol that there was an important relationship there this year. It always feels heartwarming to be asked to sign and know they’re going to look back and read that message one day, in the far future, and be brought right back to that moment.”

According to Winkler, the yearbook has a larger significance in the narrative of Archer’s history to document the events of each year. Winkler said the staff took that role into account while making the book and trying to create an accurate reflection of the school year.

“The yearbook is a legal document; it’s really a piece of history,” Winkler said. “Whether you’re looking at it that year, a few years after or eventually when your kids or your grandkids are looking at it, its goal is to be a time capsule for that year. Especially this year, we did a great job of doing that with such a small staff and trying to tell the story and the narrative of 2023.”