We make yearbooks. It is what we do. But, why? When a staff is inspired by its mission, when the students understand their “why,” they’re motivated to do more than simply document the school year.
It’s not enough to create and sell books. We need to understand why. One of the first activities I have our staff complete is the “Golden Circle.”
We watch Simon Sinek’s TedTalk based on his book, Start with Why, break into small groups, and discuss our what, how — and why. Once the staff has defined the “what” and the “how,” we determine our “why.”
After working through the process this year, we concluded that the yearbook provides a platform for every student’s voice to be heard as well as preserves the history of the year. These ideas drive our coverage choices. Our “why” helps determine our ladder and becomes the catalyst that drives us to excellence.
When a yearbook staff understands its purpose, the staff will have greater ownership of the book’s content and make sure it values all students. To do this, we must uncover both the individual stories as well as events that shape the year. We need to hear the voices of all students, not just the athletes and social stars, but the almost-silent whispers of everyday students.
We do this by listening — in the hallways, in the classrooms, in the library. By asking students and staff to share their stories and reporting them in a fair, honest and accurate manner.
We do all of this because it’s our “why.”