By Casey Hans
Students at Carpenter Elementary School will receive a special memento of their school year this week, as each get a copy of a new, student-produced yearbook.
The 60-page book features individual class pages and special photo spreads of events either taken by the fifth-graders who produced it, their advisers or from photos submitted by staff, students and families. They even left room for students to have their friends sign the books.
The project was coordinated by fifth-grade teacher Natasha York and art teacher Meredith Giltner and parent Pam Powell who worked as the yearbook adviser for the school’s first Yearbook Club.
“They’re learning desktop publishing. They’re learning photography. It’s a great teamwork thing,” said Powell.
She said the project also taught fifth-graders how to deal with teachers by making appointments and interacting with them on the project as they planned the book. It also connected the older students with younger students at Carpenter as they took photos.
“This was our big adventure this year,” said York, who leaves Carpenter at the end of this school year to become the new principal at Thurston Elementary School in the fall. “My big thing was for them to connect with other kids in the building. They have to get to know all the kids for this project.”
“Miss York had the idea – we really wanted a yearbook,” explained Emily. Added Maryam: “We got to put it together ourselves – it’s really fun.” Kaleb said his favorite part of the project was running around the school, taking candid photos of fellow students.
Student worked in teams and were each assigned a classroom, where they visited, coordinated with individual teachers and took headshots of each student. They then laid them out and had the teachers proof the pages to ensure that they had put the correct names with the photos.
Events such as the school’s spring Field Day, class trips and all major school events are part of the book. “We wanted it to be representative of the entire school,” Powell added.
Students wrote and obtained a grant from the Ann Arbor Youth Council, an award from the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop and an ad from the shop, which helped to increase the budget. Malloy, an Ann Arbor printer, offered to print and bind the books for $2.19 each, which fell within the project’s budget. Powell said there is even a bit of seed money for others to take the project over next year.
“It gives them a nice focus and the teamwork is important,” added Powell. “They’re really working together.”