Elite yearbook experience


photo by Breanna Evans

Delaney Jones, Madison Sapp and Robert Le Cates work during their class “10 new tips and design tricks for 2020.”

by Robert Tackett, Reporter

Fort Worth, Texas; Glenwood High School, and a rap video. The past two weeks has been intense for Meridian’s yearbook staff. The staff has a strong start leading into National Yearbook Week, Oct. 7-11.

On Sept. 27,  Adviser Sheila Moore chose two yearbook staffers, Madison Sapp and Hallie Gates to attend Elite Weekend in Fort Worth, TX.
“Elite Weekend is where a bunch of schools come to this place and meet judges and train to teach yearbook, and we met with two yearbook trainers that Ms. Moore and I were very excited to meet, Jim Jordan and Mike Taylor,” said Gates.
Meridian even made an appearance on a special episode of a shared podcast between Taylor and Jordan. Listen to it here, starting at 31:10.
“Gates is the current editor-in-chief and is in charge of everything; Sapp will probably be her replacement after she [Gates] graduates,” said Moore. This is how Moore decided which staff members would board the plane to Texas.

They attended Elite weekend to better their book, as well as try to work towards entering the competition for a Pacemaker Award.

Part of Elite Weekend is to present your yearbook to six instructors/judges and the first day they said, “Yeah, I don’t like that.”

“We went in on the first day and thought it was okay, however, the judges didn’t see it working, so by the end of the week we had to change the whole layout and we changed themes and made a new one,” said Gates. “It was a decision that had to be made sooner than later, and in my opinion, September is better than later.”

There was a lot of pressure on the girls at Elite Weekend because they were getting judged by the best.

“It was intense. Imagine you’re doing your hobby but with six of the best telling you what you were doing wrong over and over again till you get it right. There were a few breakdowns because of how intense it was, but we got through the week fine and by the end of it we felt confident with the new yearbook look,” said Moore.

Some yearbook staffers, however, didn’t like the sudden yearbook theme change that happened. The old cover was a black luminaire and the new one is going to be a white luminaire with a clear portion that’s shiny.

“They [other staff] didn’t like the sudden change for the reason that they didn’t know why it happened, but if they were in our position, they would have understood more and agreed,” said Moore.

Evans’ reaction to the sudden change was one of  surprise and shock because the week before she had worked hard on the design.

 “I was like I did all that work and it pretty much went to the garbage can,” said Breanna Evans, staff member. “Now I am excited that we changed our theme and can’t wait to see the finished project!”

Level Up Video”

— October 2

After Elite Weekend ended, yearbook focus shifted to a project called Level Up.
“Hallie said to me that we should make a rap for the Level Up competition, so she googled ‘how to write a rap for beginners’ and started rapping right at the table, classic Hallie,” said Moore.

Yearbook staff has finished their entry for the Level Up competition put on by their publisher. They submitted a video; two national winners will be chosen. Winners will get two years of help from specialists Mike Taylor, CJE, and/or Jim Jordan visiting the school for special consultations, Adviser Academy tuition fee paid, and those are only a few prizes at stake. A challenge new staff hopeful, Kiersten Dagg was a part of as one of her first meetings.

“When I was there for the rap, I didn’t have my paperwork and application filled out; however, right after I immediately got it done, my first thought of yearbook was that this year will be really fun,” said Dagg.  “I’m really excited to be an official member of yearbook and I’m really happy for this year!”
2020 Meridian Yearbook Staff

Fall Workshop”

— September 24


“So basically, we went to a different high school  and spent a day going to different sessions that specialize in different areas that will help organize our staff and create a yearbook,” said Sapp, sophomore.

During workshop, the sessions that are available vary on the staffer and their job.

“My first session was about module design, my second was about design tricks and tips, my third was about using google apps, and my fourth was about design trends in 2020,” said Sapp.

Sapp’s job in yearbook is layout design editor, her job makes her responsible for her content and the overall entries and the design for the yearbooks.

Robert Le Cates attended the sessions for Interviewing 101, 10 Design Tips, Caption Writing and Modular Design.

“I took interviewing 101 because usually I never know what questions to ask, but after that I knew exactly what to do and how to ask. 10 Design tips was very interesting because John Kauffman is a very good teacher and is excellent at what he does. He taught me how to do things I didn’t even know were possible,” said Le Cates, junior. “Caption writing is another essential part of a good yearbook page so being able to write a stellar caption is almost a critical thing in yearbook. And finally Modular Design, but I believe we are going for a Modular Design book this year so to be ahead of the game, I wanted to take that class so I would know what to do early.”