TreeRing Yearbook Heroes is a monthly feature focusing on yearbook adviser tips and tricks.
Mom of triplets and one of TreeRing’s sales directors, Ansley Cheatham, fell into yearbook advising at Augusta Circle Elementary School after knowing she wanted to be involved at her children’s school. But what she didn’t know is that she would also fall in love with yearbook creation.
As soon as Ansley’s three boys headed to kindergarten, she started looking for a way to become involved with the PTA and was asked to assist with the yearbook. As some of you readers may know, the yearbook advisor role can be a challenging position to fill, but Ansley was all in.
To date, Ansley has made five yearbooks for Augusta Circle, each creatively capturing the school year they represented. And while all the yearbooks hold a special place in Ansley’s and the elementary school’s heart, the 2020-21 yearbook was unique and challenging in a different way.
Learn more about Ansley’s journey creating a yearbook this past school year.
How do you think COVID-19 impacted your yearbook and yearbooks across the country?
At Augusta Circle, we were lucky to go back to school safely in October, but it looked different than any other year. I wanted to be sure to highlight that in our yearbook in a way elementary students could understand and remember in a positive way. The pictures weren’t what you were used to seeing in a yearbook, but I think that was part of its charm! In all of our group photos, our kids were wearing their masks. If the kids were alone, they didn’t have to have a mask on, so we had a lot more solo pictures as well.
The hardest part was that I couldn’t go inside the school to take pictures like usual. I had to rely on teachers and parents to submit them to me. TreeRing has an app that many parents used to quickly drop into my collection and most of the teachers used Google Photos. I also pulled a lot directly from Instagram into the book. The process was so easy that I will actually use the same one next year, even if I am allowed in the building!
In addition, I had my son, who is in 4th grade, write a summary of the year from a child’s perspective. Describing what was different, e-learning, wearing masks, and how the kids adapted. He also talked about things that were new to our entire culture; defining words like “social distancing” and sports teams playing with cardboard cutouts for fans. He detailed things that all the kids will want to look back on and maybe show their own kids one day!
What is one of your favorite parts of your yearbook this school year?
One of my favorite parts in our yearbook is in our fifth-grade quote section. We asked them all, “Where do you see yourself in 20 years?” The responses are so much fun to read! We had future NFL stars, doctors, interior designers and vets to name a few. It’s a great addition to our yearbook and I know the students will love to look back on it when they are older and laugh at what they wanted to be in fifth-grade!
What is something you think is fun about your yearbook that makes it different?
Every year we hold a cover contest! Kids are so creative and we get so many fabulous submissions! This is one of the ways students feel like they were involved in the yearbook process since we don’t have a yearbook club. It’s special to our school and makes each book unique and nothing like any other yearbook across the country – it speaks to us and our students.
We also sell celebration ads to parents. The parents design them on TreeRing’s website, drop in their own pictures and write sweet messages, quotes or something special to their child. They look so good when they all come together in the book, plus they are unique and personalized!