It is chaos when my 41 classmates, my journalism and yearbook advisers and I prepare to board ourselves onto the light rail that will take all of us from the Washington State Convention Center to the Seattle Airport. My journalism adviser is quickly punching her credit card information into the ticket dispenser in order to print 43 tickets, while my yearbook adviser is shouting at us kids to stand out of the way of people trying to squeeze through what seems like an endless mass of teenagers. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, I find myself mentally taking a step back, and reminiscing about my experiences during the last few days of the JEA/NSPA spring convention in Seattle.
I’ve always been a huge fan of these journalism conventions. When I saw the itinerary for my first NorCal state journalism convention in Sacramento, three years ago, I was excited beyond belief. I could fill three whole days with yearbook lectures! I was able to hear from the advisers of the schools whose publications I idolized: Whitney High School, Smoky Hill High School, Palo Alto High School and at least a dozen more. Those one hour sessions widened my perspective of what a publication could become, and encouraged me to learn more and more about the world of yearbook.
The Seattle convention was no disappointment. I attended as many yearbook sessions as I possibly could on April 7 and 8. My goal was to absorb as much knowledge as I could about design, writing and photography, and then pitch what I learned to the rising editors of my school’s publication. And while I thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions I went to, I found myself realizing that listening to sessions wasn’t the only reason why the Seattle convention was such a memorable experience.
As cliche as it sounds, the people I met during the Seattle convention were what made the convention so special for me. All around me in the convention center were people who were just as eager as I was to learn more about yearbook. They asked the same questions I was asking about improving the quality of yearbooks. They got excited about three whole tables filled with yearbooks and free yearbook swag and accessories. They asked each other for social media information so they could stay in touch with each other and share ideas for each other’s yearbooks.
In my school, even within my yearbook staff, no one really has a burning passion to learn more about yearbooks. I felt like I was that one lonely yerd who didn’t have anyone to talk about yearbooks with, or talk about how we could make changes to it. No one seemed to understand that yearbook could be a passion just like art or music. All of the attendees at the Seattle JEA/NSPA convention reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my love for yearbook.
The Seattle convention was a place where I could refine my yearbook skills, but it was also a place where I could belong.
I pondered on these thoughts so deeply that I almost missed my yearbook adviser reminding us that we had to get off the next stop. So before the the light rail stopped at our final destination, before we all got up and rushed through ticket printing and security checkpoints, I took a moment to smile at the wonderful experience Seattle was, and to mentally thank everyone I met who made me love yearbook even more.
Source: Yearbook Discoveries