Nostalgia’s little helper

Ginger Fierstein

Photo By Sarah Wenstrand-Moore

Many students never give so much as a second thought to the work it takes to get their yearbook done; they just expect it to be there. This writer suspected that the yearbook fairy flew by to drop them off while all the students were sleeping. In the case of The Met Sacramento, a local charter school, the yearbook fairy is 16-year-old sophomore Ginger Fierstein, and it was no overnight job. In her first year at The Met, the south Land Park resident was told that if she wanted a yearbook, she would have to do it herself. She jumped at the opportunity. Now in her second year of flying solo, she still manages to wave her wand and work a little yearbook magic.

I talked to a few people and found out that you did the school yearbook single-handedly. What inspired you to do that?

Well, what really inspired me to do this year’s and last year’s yearbook was really just the prospect of having our own yearbook. At our school, if you actually want something, then you have to do it yourself. Without that, we just wouldn’t have had one.

Did you make the yearbook entirely alone, or did you have a lot of help?

Well, getting the yearbook started was the hard part. I had to do that by myself with very little teacher help, because I had to learn how to do things independently. When it came down to actually doing the yearbook, I didn’t actually even have a staff until late in the year last year, and even then they flaked off quite a bit, so I was basically on my own. The main help that I got was from my best friend, Andrew [LaMar], and my adviser, Trisha [Gebhardt].

What process did you have to go through to make the yearbook?

First I had to contact the publishing company at Lifetouch, so that we could set up the publishing deal. I decided to take the extra time and do these student half-pages, where every student gets to give me pictures and some text, along with colors and font types, and then I went and transferred all that so that everyone had their own half-page. It’s pretty different from a normal yearbook, and I think that that’s one of the nice things about it. I didn’t want anyone to feel left out.

Did you run into many difficulties designing the yearbook?

Mostly adapting to doing it alone. This was my first time doing a yearbook without adult help. Originally, figuring out how to lay out the pages was hard, but once I figured it out, I had a lot of fun with it. I learned a lot about graphic design and developed a passion that I hope to explore through internship.

With this yearbook, do you think that it’s of better quality for students because a student did all the work?

Well, I personally think that I had a lot more fun than students on a normal yearbook staff, because of the creative control I had. Because of the lack of most restrictions, I could make the yearbook what the students wanted. I think the students enjoy it more because we all get our own half-page. They really got to say what they wanted, and really they get more bang for their buck. In a normal yearbook, many students get to see a small picture of them in a lineup, but that’s about it. I think that this yearbook has a really human feel to it. Not in that you can say, “Oh, wow! I can tell that this is handmade!” It’s more in that each individual page is unique, which enhances the quality, as opposed to other yearbooks, where each picture is cut and pasted onto the exact same format. It has also been made very affordable for convenience, and every student has a chance to be totally represented. We also have funny pages, a table of contents, school events and all that other good stuff that yearbooks have, but we’ve been able to go more in depth with it.

In making this yearbook, have you run into any censorship issues?

At any school, you can’t just put whatever you want in the yearbook. You can’t use cusswords, or have any naked pictures. So, yeah, I’ve had a lot of student pages censored on content that was supposedly inappropriate (sex, drugs, cussing, gang signs, etc.). Sometimes I agree there is definitely some material that is inappropriate, but when I don’t agree about the appropriateness, I have to just suggest something, and if that doesn’t work, I sneak it in subliminally. Just kidding!

Are you planning on doing the yearbook next year?

No, not really. It’s been fun, but I think that I’ve had a good two-year run, and it’s someone else’s turn. I do plan to pursue graphic design next year, but perhaps through a different medium. If I was to do it next year, I would try to be a more effective leader for my staff.