Building Unique Yearbook Spreads: Part V - Student Relationships

School relationships are the way that we learn to socialize and communicate for our whole lives.

What makes up a school, on an overarching basis, is the student population. That student population is in turn defined by its internal relationships. We’re not talking strictly romantics here. Relationships can be defined on a variety of levels, whether it be boyfriend/girlfriend, BFFs, or even student-teacher friendships. Beyond the classroom lessons, homework, sports, and endless activities, relationships are what a school is all about.

For the most part, it seems yearbooks fall short when it comes to pinpointing important relationships. They cover all of the bases when it comes to identifying each student and teacher, encompassing sports and student life, and trying to incorporate fun content along the way. However, what seems to be missing is a unique yearbook spread dedicated to the relationships that make student experiences what they are.

A section like this may worry you on a couple different fronts. It’s true that boyfriends and girlfriends will likely break up someday (sorry, kids!), or group pictures may seem a bit cliquey. But this doesn’t have to be a problem when the spreads include everyone! Being social and forming relationships is a big part of what makes school work. So it’s important to give all relationships equal coverage and show the importance of each. Just put your mind at ease and start getting creative.

If there are some students that are more withdrawn or have a tendency to stay to themselves, it doesn’t mean that maybe they don’t have a strong friendship with a smaller group or a mentorship with a teacher. Highlight those special bond and showcase the positive influence a teacher can have on a student. Teachers are more than educators; they can be mentors, heroes, and friends. They are there when times are rough, with no judgments and no personal agenda. Take time to highlight these important relationships in your yearbook by incorporating photos and storytelling that will demonstrate this bond and its importance on the individuals, and the school at large.

Focus on student friendships and everything that entails. My group of friends and I lovingly referred to ourselves as the “Fab 15.” And, surprisingly, it wasn’t the “fab” as much as the “15” part that shocked most people. When it comes to holding onto friendships, a person should count themselves lucky if they have as many friends as they do fingers on one hand. Therefore, having 15 girls maintain a strong, close, long-lasting bond through a slew of petty fights, cute boys, and overwhelming gossip means a lot.

Maintaining strong relationships with friends, teachers, and significant others is an important aspect of school. Create a unique yearbook spread to showcase them!
Image source: Flickr CC ahmed mando

For this reason, it is important to dedicate a yearbook section or spread to the strong friendships throughout the school. Whether you’re in a small town or big city, and whether you’re in high school or elementary school, many people think of “school friends” as just that – friends that you had in school. But for some people, “school friends” prove to be lifelong friends. They will want this moment frozen in time to remember these important relationships and all of the time they had together – good, bad, or otherwise.

To showcase these important relationships in the yearbook, student participation is key! Reach out to the whole student body to get photographs of friends together, both in and out of school. This will be a lot easier and more effective than having a staff photographer tail everyone at school events! If your school yearbook includes younger grades, contact parents for photographic offerings – they’re sure to have plenty of images of their kids with their school chums.

You can also seek student writings on the relationships that were most important to them. Perhaps someone had a particularly close bond with the art teacher, who encouraged them to hone their craft until they were accepted into art school. Or maybe there’s a pair of friends who’ve been best buds since they could barely walk, and now they’re both about to graduate. Have them both write a brief piece on the importance of their friendship for the yearbook. Time to break out the tissues!

For most people, their school years were a jumping-off point for learning to socialize, communicate, and make friends for the rest of their lives. Demonstrating this important aspect of not only school, but of life, can only make your yearbook that much stronger and more memorable.

Thanks for checking out this week’s blog focus on creating unique yearbook spreads! Like it? Love it? Have your own ideas? Leave your comments below.

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