Posts in category New & Noteworthy

National Buy Your Yearbook Day: Here are the contests!

It’s almost here! National Buy Your Yearbook Day (NBYYD) is Wednesday, October 25th.

We created this day to designate a special time of the school year to focus specifically on yearbook sales and to allow schools to join with other schools in a coordinated national event. Schedule your main yearbook sales period around NBYYD and build excitement and a sense of urgency for the yearbook.

This year we have four contests you can enter. Two lucky winners will be named in each category and will receive a $100 gift card!

CONTEST 1: Staff Spirit

We want to see your staff’s spirit and enthusiasm! Wear your staff shirts and snap a creative photo showing off your love of all things yearbook.



CONTEST 2: Who’s your PAL?

Grab your principal and post a pic of him/her helping your staff promote the yearbook.



CONTEST 3: Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Create a video to help promote your yearbook, and post it on your school’s website or social media page. Send us a link (or tag us) so we can see your hard work. Remember to keep your video short & sweet–and extra points if you make us laugh!


CONTEST 4: Spread the word

How do you promote your yearbook? Show us your best and most creative marketing campaign techniques. These can be created at a very low-cost and include techniques like homemade flyers and posters, sidewalk chalk, and social media posts.


How to enter

You can send us your submissions in two ways:

1) Submit Entries via Social Media: Post your submission on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #GottaGetAYearbook and the category.

2) Submit Entries via email: Entries can be submitted to our email address with your school name and category.

Winners will be announced on Thursday! Learn ways to promote NBYYD on your campus.

Get ready to #celebrateyearbook with National Yearbook Week

It seems there’s a national week for everything these days: National Headache Awareness week (June 4-10), National Split Pea Soup Week (Nov 12-18). There’s even a week to recognize handwashing, which we fully support (in case you were wondering). But the week we look forward to the most here at Balfour is National Yearbook Week, and it is taking place next week, October 2-6!

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first full week of October as “National Yearbook Week” to recognize the important role yearbook serves in our lives. An excerpt from Proclamation 5703 states: “School yearbooks not only chronicle educational achievement and school tradition but are a part of them. For nearly two centuries American students have produced yearbooks to commemorate the accomplishments of the school year and to compose a lasting record, written and pictorial, of campus, classmates, teachers, and school staff.”

Join us for a fun week of contests celebrating National Yearbook Week. Simply follow us on Twitter (@BalfourYB) or Facebook (BalfourYearbooks) and tweet or post your photo each day with the hashtag #celebrateyearbook. One lucky staff will take home a $100 gift card each day.

Monday, Oct. 2- “Show us your Selfie”

A yearbook wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the dedicated individuals who serve on the yearbook staff. So get creative, and take a “staff selfie” to show off your staff’s personality.

Tuesday, Oct. 3 – “Show us your Space”

We know you spend just as much time in the yearbook room as you do your own room, so we want to see your space! Send a photo of your yearbook classroom or workspace.

Wednesday, Oct. 4 – “Show us your Spines”

Yearbook spines, that is! Line up your yearbooks and send us a photo of all your old volumes. The school with the oldest volume 1 yearbook spine wins!

Thursday, Oct. 5- “Show us your Snacks”

What fuels your yearbook staff? Show us the fun foods that get you through those tough deadlines and all-nighter work sessions.

Friday, Oct. 6- “Show us your Support”

We know creating a yearbook takes a village, so show us your support system! Send a photo of your adviser, principal or another individual in your school who goes above and beyond to help with the yearbook.

Winners will be chosen by Balfour’s Marketing Team and recipients will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card. Here’s a recap of the daily contests you can hang in your classroom.

Be sure to check your email and our social media page Friday for a BIG yearbook week announcement you won’t want to miss!

HIYT: High-intensity yearbook training at Balfour’s Intensity Workshop

High-Intensity Interval Training is a great way to get in shape, right? Borrowing the same idea of intense work and intense training, staffs across the country can get their yearbooks in shape at Balfour’s Intensity Workshop. This workshop focuses on three days of immersion in all things YEARBOOK. Yearbook advisers, editors and staff are welcome to attend the workshop, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 30 – Monday, Oct. 2 at the Balfour Yearbook Publishing Plant in Dallas, Texas.

Your classroom time features a lineup of award-winning advisers and Balfour experts who are in tune with industry trends and yearbook award standards. These fine folks will help you and your students polish & refine the plans for the 2018 yearbook. Intensity instructors include:

Samantha Jo Berry teaches at Bridgeland High School in Houston. She received the 2015 Pathfinder Award from the Texas Association of Journalism Educators and was recently named as one of 13 recipients of the Rising Star Award from the Journalism Education Association. Her students’ publications have received numerous awards from CSPA, ILPC and JEA.

Judi Coolidge retired from teaching after 35 years at Bay High School in Ohio and has worked as part of Balfour’s education and marketing team for the past eleven years. The books she advised won 28 All-Americans and Gold Medals, NSPA Pacemakers, CSPA Trendsetter and Gold Crowns and a Publisher’s Industry Award. Coolidge received NSPA’s Pioneer Award, CSPA’s Gold Key and JEA National Yearbook Adviser of the Year. She is in the Great Lakes Interscholastic Press and the Scholastic Journalism halls of fame and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar.

Annie Green is a Certified Journalism Educator and National Board teacher in the Pacific Northwest. She has been teaching 22 years in the Snohomish School District and is currently advising yearbook and online newspaper at Glacier Peak High School. Her students have earned national awards and strong critiques for their yearbooks. Green is excited to share innovative theme, coverage and design ideas to help staffs create their best book ever.

Kel Lemons fell in love with yearbook at 16. More than two decades later, she has her dream job as Balfour’s Key Account & Education Manager. Before joining Balfour, Kel was a newspaper and yearbook adviser for 12 years in Texas. Her publications at Connally High School and Rouse High School won numerous ILPC Stars, CSPA Crowns and NSPA Pacemakers. Kel’s love for design and photography was heavily influenced by her first job as a newspaper photographer at the Waco Tribune-Herald. When she’s not working, she’s usually curled up with a good book or the latest Entertainment Weekly. Kel’s only slightly addicted to thrift shopping, house renovations, Whataburger and Law & Order reruns.

Michael Pena is a high school photography teacher at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. Pena helps high school students find a passion for photography and graphic design. As an instructor and public speaker, Pena takes on the role of counselor, mentor, and most importantly being a good role model for today’s youth. After all, he was voted most friendliest for his senior class.

Kristi Rathbun, CJE, advises The Black & Gold yearbook, The Rock student newspaper and rockmediaonline at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch, CO. For over 20 years, she has helped journalists achieve state and national success in student media. Her students have earned All-Colorado Awards from Colorado Student Media Association, Crown and Gold Medalist recognition from CSPA, Pacemaker and All-American recognition from NSPA and a number of Best of Show honors at national and state conferences. Rathbun speaks at national and state conventions and workshops helping students and their advisers build solid programs in multiple media platforms. Rathbun currently serves as the CSMA Advocacy Coordinator and Colorado JEA State Director; she was selected as a JEA Distinguished Adviser in 2014 and received a CSPA Gold Key in 2016.

Sarah Tricano has advised Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy’s Tigrium, a Silver Crown and Pacemaker finalist, K-12 yearbook for the past 7 years. She also teaches photography. She has taught sessions at national and state conventions, as well as workshops across the country. She also teaches advanced yearbook topics with a focus on refining design and finding inspiration in the world around us. Before becoming an adviser and teacher, Sarah worked as a design professional at multiple high-end interior design firms in New York. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University and master’s degree in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology. degree in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is currently the president of the Florida Scholastic Press Association.

In addition to learning from nationally recognized trainers, networking with peers and refining your yearbook, attendees will be in Dallas during the annual State Fair of Texas, which celebrates all things TEXAN. You and your staff can choose to take in the sites, rides, live music and check out the world’s largest Texan, Big Tex. Enjoy deep-fried concoctions such as Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly, Deep Fried Peaches & Cream, Chicken Fried Bacon and much more.

Attendees will stay at the conveniently located DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas—Love Field, which is just across the street from Love Field and 10 minutes from downtown Dallas.

Balfour’s Intensity Workshop will rock your world and your staff’s world. The 3-day immersion in all-things-yearbook will help you and your staff create the yearbook of your dreams.

To find out more about Balfour’s Intensity Workshop and determine if it’s suited to your staff’s needs, contact your Balfour representative.

Attend a Convention: Amp up staffers’ love for journalism with a cool field trip

One of the best ways to spark a love for journalism in your students is to attend a national convention. Journalism conventions provide opportunities to network with professionals, see award-winning publications and learn from experts.

Two of the leading scholastic journalism organizations in the country, JEA (Journalism Educators Association) and NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association), collaborate on national events, hosting fall and spring journalism conventions every year. This November, about 5,000 students will attend the fall convention in Dallas.

Why bring your students to a convention?

Education ignites motivation

Journalism conventions such as this feature high-profile keynote speakers, giving your staff a chance to learn from and be inspired by journalists from different fields and backgrounds. Whether it be a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer or an Emmy Award winning reporter, exposing students to the world of journalism and career options available can both inspire and motive.  Students also have the opportunity to attend a variety of journalism sessions, learning about everything from design and typography to understanding diversity in media.

Compete for awards (and bragging rights)

Write-off contests give students a chance to put their skills to the test and compete against student journalists from across the country and abroad. Contests span the journalism spectrum, covering everything from yearbook caption writing to broadcast commentary. Contests are judged by qualified professionals and educators from across the country, and awards are given during the closing ceremony. Click here to learn more about JEA/NPSA’s write-off contest opportunities.

Grow your network

Conventions give journalism students and educators alike the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, learn about journalism career opportunities and develop mentoring relationships with seasoned professionals. Conventions are also a great place for students to visit with representatives from college and university journalism programs who attend as exhibitors.

Staffs also can have publications critiqued, attend round tables with professional media and see yearbooks from around the country.

For those unable to attend the convention in Dallas in November, CSPA (Columbia Scholastic Press Association) also provides a similar experience, hosting its annual spring convention every March in New York City.  JEA and NSPA’s spring event is in San Francisco this April. That’s ample time to save money and plan travel for one fabulous field trip. Need help convincing your administration to let your staffs travel? Check out Why Conventions Matter.

State organizations also host journalism conventions and offer critique services and awards to motivate your staffs and build individual and staff resumes. Here’s a list of state organizations.

Stop in for a Balfour Plant Tour while you’re in Dallas

Attending journalism conventions can spark creativity, energize your students and help build your staff. We hope to see you in two months in Dallas! If you’re coming to the convention, we’d love to show you around our yearbook publishing plant. Tours for you and your staff can be scheduled on Thursday, November 16. Sign up here.

Balfour and 610 Project partner to provide yearbooks for students in Haiti

The Ecole Shalom yearbook staff opens their Balfour Planning Kit and learns how to use StudioWorks yearbook design software. Photo courtesy of The 610 Project.

It began with a conversation between friends, as any story worth telling and retelling does.

It was the beginning of the Ecole Shalom yearbook project at the Haitian American Caucus in Croix Des Bouquets, Haiti.

In the fall of 2015, Melissa Daniel Bain, the founder of The 610 Project, asked former yearbook representative Sihwa Sussman to join her to discuss a proposition. At lunch, Bain described the work she was doing with her non-profit organization.

“Melissa asked if I could help start a yearbook program for the students at a school in Haiti,” Sussman said.

When the project was presented to Mike Parker, VP of Sales for Balfour, it was a no-brainer. He was eager for an opportunity to share the joy and importance of yearbooks with the children of Haiti.

To kick off the project, board members of The 610 Project and Sussman traveled to Haiti in February 2016.

“The experience working with the staff and students in Haiti was beyond words,” Sussman said.

In addition to providing the students with school yearbooks, The 610 Project recently returned to the school with printed school portraits for each of the 450 students. Something that U.S. students take for granted, having portraits to chronicle their development, validated Haitian students’ individual importance.

Haitian students pose with their first school photos, taken by volunteers at the 610 Project on a previous trip. Photo courtesy of The 610 Project.

Photo courtesy of The 610 Project.


“Being a part of the yearbook process and having photos creates an ownership of education for these students,” Bain said. “It helps validate and create the framework for a better future.”

Just like a yearbook staff in the US, the Haitian students were trained on layout and design principles, photography techniques and Balfour’s online software, StudioWorks, where they designed their pages.

Susan Rowe, a volunteer with The 610 Project, poses with a student on a trip to Haiti in February 2017. Photo courtesy of The 610 Project.

“They were eager and fascinated by what they could do,” Sussman said. “It was an opportunity to become unbound from their circumstances.”

Bain’s passion for outreach and service inspired her to create The 610 Project, a community-driven project that is dedicated to empowering the Haitian people and helping communities succeed.

The project originated in The Shoals area of Alabama. Through their partnership with Haiti, the project provides physical and financial assistance for self-sustaining education and micro-enterprise development.

The students will receive their first shipment of yearbooks in August 2017.