Having just come back from my high school reunion weekend, and what with the outpouring of nostalgia, memories, and friendship that the event had to offer, my school spirit is in full swing! One great, personalized feature we had at the reunion was a profile of each classmate that contained a high school photo, recent photo, short bio, and two quotes from that person.
I created these profiles by using a survey I had each classmate fill out (combined with a little Facebook stalking). At first I wasn’t sure how they would go over… a lot of people were apprehensive about filling out the survey, and hesitant about sharing their accomplishments, or what they perceived to be a lack of accomplishment. However, once people were there, they could not get enough of learning about all of their classmates, seeing how everyone has ended up, and even reading their own life stories through someone else’s eyes.
That got me thinking, what a great way to bring that same energy and storytelling to the senior yearbook! In lieu of the typical senior portrait page, why not create a customized senior profile page? The page could include each classmate’s senior picture, a childhood photo, a small bio about their life thus far, what they want for the future, and a few personalized quotes. That way, when they look back years later, it’ll be like a miniature time capsule of their life at that moment.
Most seniors will need a jumping off point to compile the necessary information for a profile page. That’s where a survey comes in!
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SENIOR PROFILE SURVEY:
- Start simple – Obviously you’ll want to include their name (and any nicknames), but it can also be great to include simple personal information like their hometown and age. This bit of information can also help students look up past classmates when the time comes.
- Favorite subjects – There will always be those that choose to answer “lunch” or “free period” (points for honesty), but most students will want to recall their favorite classes, what they liked about it, what they learned, or maybe a favorite project.
- Clubs, sports, and activities – Whether they were the yearbook editor, cheerleading captain, or preferred to stay out of activities altogether, these things are key components to telling each person’s story. You can also include any sports that students participated in outside of school.
- Favorite teachers – I know this section of my survey would have read like a sappy teenager in love, but even if you don’t have a giant crush on one of your teachers, there is still a lot to say about educators. Students look up to teachers for all sorts of different reasons, whether they appreciate their humor, enjoy their kooky outfits, love the lessons they present, feel like they could relate to that person, or secretly enjoy the “tough love” they provide.
- Family and pets – Students may want to take a moment to thank their parents, siblings, and other family members for helping them on their journey to graduation. Thanks, Sis, for putting up with me during finals! As for pets? Maybe their pets are like children to them, so let them pour their heart out about how they love their little Lhasa Apso and how they named him after both Roosevelts. (No? Just me?)
- Places lived – This is for those that have been in the same house all their life just as much as it’s for the “army brats” who have moved from town to town through the years. Each of these places is the story of that person, and that should be brought to their bio.
- Places traveled – Maybe there was that student that spent junior year in Germany, or whose family loved traveling, so they’d covered most of the US before their 18th birthday. This is also a good opportunity for those that haven’t traveled much to get inspired to see the world after graduation.
- Favorite vacation – I know what I would have put down: my senior year spring break to Myrtle Beach! I can guarantee each girl that went on that trip would have put down the same vacation as her favorite. This is a great opportunity for friends to have that final connection before graduation, for a student to remember a special family vacation, or share a memory from a summer spent with friends from another place.
- Future goals – You could ask the typical, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Or you could get more in depth and ask about the families they want to have, the personal accomplishments they want to achieve, and the impact they want to have on the community, the country, or the world.
If you want to get some even more in depth ask direct, open-ended questions that will yield humorous quotes and heartfelt stories. Try things like:
- If you could go back a few years, what is one thing you would do differently?
- What will you miss most about high school?
- What are your favorite memories of elementary and high school?
- Have you met any famous or interesting people?
- What are three things you would bring to a deserted island, and why?
This is a great opportunity for each student to have the story of his or her life told, so make sure it’s done right! These survey ideas make a great jumping off point, but feel free to add other questions that you think are suitable to your student body. What questions and sections would you include? Let us know in the comments!