Yearbook is a tough sell

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Audrey Dingler works on the Middle Township High School yearbook on Thursday morning. Audrey Dingler works on the Middle Township High School yearbook on Thursday morning.

Middle’s students racing to meet deadlines, raise enough money

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Audrey Dingler of Cape May Court House was trying to figure out what pictures to put of freshmen in Middle Township High School’s yearbook on Thursday morning.

Nearby, Rachel Ross of Cape May Court House was pulling down older yearbooks to get an idea about what to write in the sophomore section.

The two 17-year-olds and another senior editor were at computers, each working on yearbook pages, fighting a Saturday, Feb. 9 deadline.

Thirty-two pages were due last weekend. The 196-page, full-color yearbook will be distributed later this year.

The 10-member yearbook staff and adviser are 61 percent complete on the yearbook.

“It’s getting there,” Dingler said.

The final deadline is in March, said yearbook adviser Martina Trapani.

Dingler said she probably works on the yearbook at least an hour each weekday and goes in on Saturdays, too. The yearbook staff includes many new students, whom Trapani says are mostly juniors and seniors.

Students use Yearbook Avenue, an online publishing program, from Jostens, a company that provides yearbooks, class rings and other items to schools.

Putting together the yearbook is frustrating at times, Dingler admits, but the finished product makes it worthwhile.

Dingler said she enjoys seeing people’s expressions when they turn the pages of the yearbook, and to hear their compliments about the pictures. She said she likes to be able to say she took it.

She said she doesn’t like putting together the academic pages, however. The pictures require thinking out the box, a challenge because students taking notes in a classroom is so common, she said.

Dingler is in her second year of being on yearbook and aspires to go into the publishing business, in theater production advertising.

“I got sucked into it,” she said of joining the yearbook staff. Her sister had been a member, and Trapani asked Dingler to handle the academic section.

“It’s cool to see the hard work payoff at the end of the year,” Ross said.

But she said she is not into editing; she is more into science and math. Her friend prompted her to join the club, Ross said, and she is in her third year of being on the staff.

Taking part in yearbook does have its benefits, she said. She said she is able to recognize students at the high school without knowing them.

“I guess that’s kind of cool,” Ross said.

Ross also said she likes the teamwork in assembling the yearbook, too.

All that work comes with a major price tag. Around 202 yearbooks have been sold so far, less than half of what is needed for the yearbook club to break even, Trapani said.

That means the yearbook club must raise about $40,500.

With each passing year, there are fewer advertisers, Trapani said. Fewer businesses want to place ads, a trend she has seen happening for at least 10 years.

“It really has gone down,” she said.

And the cost of the yearbook has gone up because of it being full color, she said.

Rachel Ross looks an older yearbook to get an idea about what to write in the sophomore section. Rachel Ross looks an older yearbook to get an idea about what to write in the sophomore section.

Trapani is in her 17th year as the yearbook adviser and has also witnessed the process of putting together the yearbook change drastically.

She remembers the days of having to paste together the yearbook, doing the pages by hand. Now, the book is assembled digitally, making things easier, and it’s been full color for about five years, Trapani said.

But technology has also hurt yearbook sales, she said. Students think that all the pictures they’ll need will be on their mobile devices, Trapani said. What about 25 or 30 years from now? she asks.

Those pictures will not be available, but the yearbook will be.

She often pulls down her 1980 yearbook and shows students how important it is to have the book years later.

Middle’s yearbook includes photographs of academics, clubs and more.

“And this puts it together nice and neat,” Trapani said.

She said students are featured in the yearbook at least three times.

“Everybody should buy a yearbook. Reinforce that,” Ross said.

Yearbooks cost $90 each and can be ordered at or from Trapani. Call the high school at 465-1834. 

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