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The Annual Evolution

January 8, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

The Annual Evolution
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Looking at a yearbook from cover to cover will be a little different for students at Tri-Valley High School as the traditional process gets a makeover.

"What do we want to do as a theme? Of course, the youth are all about social media. It's an integral part of their life, that's how a lot of them communicate. Even in school, that's how we communicate with each other," Yearbook Staff Advisor Brittney Heiberger said.

The majority of the yearbook staff at Tri-Valley have never worked on the yearbook before, and they want to make their impression felt for years to come.

"We just wanted to bring it to the next level. We've always had a solid yearbook, but with all new people, we decided to take this chance to go ahead and up it to the next level," Hanna Ramstad said.

That next move is a video and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

"They were shocked and surprised and really excited to see that something from social media was being incorporated into the yearbook," Maggie Heiberger said.

How were they going to pull this off?

The students knew that their plan would require a lot of creative thinking.

"I figured it was going to be a huge undertaking, and it totally has been. It's been really difficult and there have been a lot of obstacles we've had to get over," Carolyn Hillberg said.

The group started simple and discussed how the videos would be gathered.

"Taking videos on your smartphone is the easiest thing, so far, that I've used," Sammy Kasowski said.

That will allow their new yearbook to have a deeper meaning to the student body.

"Most yearbooks, you have the pictures where people are smiling, and when you have the videos, you can see people doing the funny things like missing a free throw or falling during the homecoming activities," Kasowski said.

"In our generation, most kids have a smartphone, so we might as well use the resources that are available to us, and if they take good pictures, we might as well use them," Ramstad said.

A program that can be downloaded to any smartphone is helping connect the videos to the actual hardcopy.

"There's actually an app that you can download on smartphones called the Aurasma app, and what you do is hold it over the image, and it will scan it and recognize the picture and take you directly to the video," Heiberger said.

Any photo highlighted in blue in their yearbook will have a video attached to it.

It has been a long and difficult road since their first meeting with steep learning curves in programming and design.

"The whole process has honestly been a little frustrating, but we get through these challenges and then it gradually gets more rewarding, and more rewarding and I think the end product will be really, really cool," Olivia Minnaert said.

There was discussion over ending the hardcopy yearbook altogether, but nobody was quite ready for that step.

"Right now, we're in that hybrid stage. Yes, we're incorporating the videos that are in the Cloud, but right now, we still have that paper version. There's still something very desirable about that tangible book," Heiberger said.

"I love, personally, writing in yearbooks to other people and friends about our memories and I think it would be sad to see the yearbook completely disappear, but I could see it happening," Hillberg said.

It is their way to bridge the past and the future into one exciting new adventure.

"Who knows how much more they can put on the Internet and use with smartphones and social media because right now we just have a book, and it can grow into so much more," Hillberg said.

The Tri-Valley yearbook staff members are in the middle of discussions to put the yearbook completely online, but until that time comes, they hope they are offering the best of both worlds with their interactive hardcopy yearbook.

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