Yearbook Hero Elyse Hernandez: She did it Again

Yearbook Hero Elyse Hernandez

Treering Yearbook Heroes is a monthly feature focusing on yearbook tips and tricks.

In March, Treering Yearbooks announced its 2022 #TreeringMemoriesMatter Design Contest for yearbook advisers, coordinators, and editors to share their unique perspectives from their campus community. It’s time to meet the winners and glean their best practices for yearbook spread design.

Last year, Elyse Martinez from Del Norte Heights Elementary School in El Paso, TX submitted a face mask fashion spread for the inaugural #TreeringMemoriesMatter Design Contest. The spread won second place. Fast forward a year, and her design earned the top prize among the elementary schools. 

Congratulations, Elyse! 

I believe that two years of national recognition tells the community that our yearbook is timely and a great representation of current events. It lets the community know that much love and intent goes into the creation of a book that they can cherish as they look back on the memories of their child.

I am very competitive and I’m also very proud of the work I put into the yearbook. I also love to win stuff! The option to win additional free yearbooks allows us to provide books as an incentive and a reward for students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to purchase the yearbook.

Tell me how your school community responded.

We are excited and proud! As I began sharing with students, they cheered—especially the class that was key in planning the Sept. 11 tribute. They were the ones who read special excerpts to commemorate the event. One wrote a poem she read out loud, and our Music teacher played a special musical selection. We invited our local fire department as well as the JROTC unit from our high school, Bel Air High School. It was an exceptional morning that didn’t leave a dry eye on the field.

What does your position as Campus Reporter entail?

My role is to document the activities on our campus that celebrate our students and then I post them on our social media accounts. Because I take copious amounts of photos, I have an ample supply to use in the yearbook. I have learned that it is important to create folders for each event and drop them in as soon as possible. That makes it so much easier to create the pages as I already have the pictures grouped by event.

Once you have the photos, how do you begin the design process?

I start with the Treering Yearbooks templates to lay out the photos. Then I add or adjust as necessary to fill it up with all the pictures I’ve taken. When I design my yearbook, I try to include as many events that happened on campus as possible. Because when families look back at their yearbook, I want them to have fond memories of their experiences.

What advice would you give to another yearbook coordinator who is just getting started?

If someone was just starting out on their yearbook, I would tell them, “You can never take enough pictures!” 

It is so easy to snap a photo with our digital cameras (especially our phones!) and you can easily cast aside those that don’t come out. You can never recapture a moment that has already passed.

Secondly, although seeing and capturing your students engaged in an activity is easy and fast, parents can not resist when you capture their child looking at the camera and smiling as they enjoy whatever it is they are doing. Those smiles—they are priceless!

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