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Yearbook Hero Jill Sundgren Crowdsources a Yearbook

Yearbook Hero Jill Sundgren holds 2021-2022 yearbook

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

This year we at TreeRing called on all our schools’ parents, teachers and students to nominate yearbook heroes in a first-ever peoples’ contest: #YearbookHero. The yearbook callout contest was prompted by our empathy and true appreciation for our yearbook editors.

Jill Sundgren of Cedar Creek Elementary School, located in Olathe, Kansas won first place in the elementary division for the nationwide contest; she was nominated by parent and PTO president, Barb Hendricks, for spearheading the school’s yearbook and inspiring a yearbook committee to work collectively and creatively to capture and preserve the important stories of the year—even when parents weren’t allowed to be on campus!

What does it mean to you to be Cedar Creek Elementary’s Yearbook Hero?

I am so honored (and a little shocked) to be named Cedar Creek’s Yearbook Hero. But I do feel like this honor really should be extended to my entire committee. This yearbook was definitely a team effort from the design to the brainstorming of pages to layouts to photo gathering. It’s so sweet that I am being recognized, but as I’m sure you all know, a yearbook is a huge undertaking and I don’t do it alone! I think it’s amazing that Cedar Creek is getting recognized for our efforts and creativity because we really do have such an awesome community of parents who make this all possible. 

I especially want to thank Barb Hendricks for nominating me and getting me involved in the yearbook in the first place. I absolutely love being involved in the yearbook committee and can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us. I think we learned a lot creating the yearbook last year and we are going to try and incorporate some of the ideas that came out of it into future books. I’m hoping to keep up the momentum and produce an even better product this year!

How have you been getting photos when parents aren’t permitted on campus?

Being unable to set foot on campus last year was certainly an obstacle, but with the help of our amazing PTO members, school staff, yearbook committee and community of parents, we were able to still capture the year in a holistic way. 

First, we had to get creative on the types of pages we wanted to showcase. A lot of the programs and activities that we normally feature weren’t happening last year, so we had to look at some things that happened outside of the school walls to fill the yearbook. We featured seasonal pages (summer, fall, winter and spring activities), sports teams and remote learning, among other activities. Our PTO has a private Facebook page where we solicited photos for some of these activities from parents – and our parents sure did deliver! 

Our school still tried to make the year fun by continuing spirit weeks, outdoor photo ops and off-campus activities (for instance, our father/daughter activity was an in-home movie night); so again, we asked parents to snap photos prior to school of their kids dressed up and share with our team. Our principal also let us take photos (outside and masked) as kids arrived at school so we could fill in some holes for our dress-up spirit days. And, of course, we enlisted the help of the teachers to try and capture some photos inside the classroom as well. This all resulted in showcasing our year in and outside of school. 

Our ultimate goal was to show that while the pandemic may have changed our way of living, it didn’t damper our spirits or ability to have some fun!

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