Yearbook Staff Makes Memories


Photo by Nick Kallipolites

A set of BHS yearbooks over the years.

Nick Kallipolites, Staff Writer

The yearbook is a staple of any high school graduation — with all of the colorful collages and pictures containing memories, it’s a succinct way to document the high school experience for seniors. Creating a book of upstanding quality and content takes a long period of time and numerous people. At Barnstable High School, there is an entire year-long dedicated course to creating the yearbook each year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has introduced some complications in both the process of creating the yearbook and having the class even run at all.

“I had to fight for the class. Due to low enrollment from the recruitment process… it was difficult to find students,” said Kaitlyn Whidden, who teaches the yearbook class. “They weren’t going to completely get rid of it, but turn in into an after-school club.” 

Running as a full class grants the staff more time to work on the yearbook. After-school clubs only meet once or twice a week while classes are guaranteed three meetings per week.

The yearbook itself has 176 pages, divided into eight sections called signatures. The students in the class are paired together to tackle the large workload, starting in the summer and concluding in the spring since the yearbook is due in the first week of April. Outside of the large deadline, there are four smaller deadlines to meet set throughout the year, each requiring a chunk of pages to be completed. Once pages are finished and submitted for those smaller deadlines, they are final and cannot be edited. The same can be said about the cover art design, which is submitted in December.

“A lot of people take the class because they think it’s an easy A. You have to work hard,” said senior Anna Item, one of the 14 students on the yearbook staff this year.

The program used to design the book is called Studio Works Balfour, which is free and can be accessed online since the program cannot be downloaded on a Chromebook. However, the pages don’t make themselves. There are students in the class who have taken it previously, but for the others, Whidden teaches them the necessary design skills.

“I’m definitely teaching them how to construct pages and teaching them about templates, modules, spreads, how to write headlines, etc. I try to push students out of their comfort zone so they include as many students as possible from the senior class,” said Whidden.

Students work together in pairs or groups of three in order to complete pages. In a traditional year, there was a larger emphasis on photos and compositions over words. However, because COVID-19 has limited the amount of events and photo opportunities, more focus has been placed on the “body” of the page — words.
“When making the pages, we have to take a look at what we already have and what we need to get. Whether those be pictures, quotes, or interviews from different people. Sometimes we may leave to take pictures of teachers/students, or even do an interview,” said senior Kaylee Arnold, another member of the yearbook staff.

The price of a yearbook is currently $90 and can be bought from There was a promotion at the beginning of the year, where the first 150 students who purchased it received a discounted price of $70. On the website, click on the yearbooks category, buy your yearbook, and then search for ZIP code 02601. 02601 is the ZIP code for Barnstable High School and will not work for other schools in the region such as Yarmouth and Falmouth. Once all of that has been entered, scroll down on the website to find a banner detailing yearbook orders.

There are different types of yearbook packages on the Balfour website. The cheapest one is $90 which is solely the yearbook, but other packages such as the deluxe version are $115 and include a pen signing sheet, autograph QR code sticker set, and activity icons.
“Students can reach out through their counselor, or if they feel comfortable, can personally email me if they have any financial need [for a yearbook],” said Whidden.

Another element of the yearbook which gives it some more relevance is surveys. Yearbook students have sent out emails to the senior class asking them to fill out surveys about varying topics, from pop culture to favorite food and superlatives. The more responses they receive, the more representative the poll is when it’s published in the yearbook. Outside of generally contacting the senior class, yearbook students reach out to specific people in order to confirm a photo or provide some info about a story. This method of reaching out to students places a larger percentage of the senior body in the yearbook instead of relying on the friends of other yearbook students.

“We like to use the Barnacle email for contacting students so it stays professional. If they don’t respond, we continue to send more emails with more bold letters,” said Item.  

Designing the yearbook also has an element of fun and enjoyment with it. Curating 176 pages of content requires a lot of work, emailing, and teamwork, but there are also moments where the staff get to appreciate the personality of the senior class.
“Reading some of the senior quotes was very enjoyable for us. They showed all kinds of different parts of people and it was by far very interesting to see,” said Arnold.
The yearbook of Barnstable’s 2021 graduating class may have utilized a different process than prior years, but the staff are working diligently to still make it a great one.