Behind the scenes with El Diablo


Michaela Malec

The El Diablo staff worked on the yearbook until 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, revising their sections, sharing feedback, hanging out with each other, and celebrating their first deadline.

It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night at school. Tired from practices, rehearsals, and club meetings, students file out the pool doors and prepare themselves for time to unwind as they head home after a long day. But as most students are leaving, a certain small corner of the school is full of energy. In room 249, dedicated members of the El Diablo yearbook staff are hard at work, creating a book that their peers will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Michaela Malec
Members of El Diablo brought a variety of food and drinks to kick off the first deadline party of the year.

These students spend countless hours throughout the year photographing, writing, and designing spreads that become something students look forward to all year. Led by staff advisors Mrs. Palmer and Ms. Nagle, along with Editors-in-Chief Maddie Studnicka and Caroline Hodakowski, seniors, the yearbook staff is committed to creating a book that represents the school in a way nothing else can. Crucial to this idea is the theme of the yearbook, chosen each year by the editors-in-chief.

“This year, [the editors] came up with the theme with the head editors, and my role is to really push them until they get a theme that is special to the school and special to this year that we think the student body would really enjoy,” Mrs. Palmer said.

Kept undisclosed until the yearbooks are revealed each May, the theme of the yearbook is something that pulls each spread together, connecting all aspects of the book. But before the books are revealed to the student body, hours of planning and preparation are put into the yearbook.

One of the most important parts of successfully creating the yearbook is meeting deadlines assigned by the yearbook publisher, Walsworth. Deadlines are defined as specific dates when up to 70 pages of the yearbook are sent to the printer.  

“We have seven big deadlines for our spreads, and within each of those deadlines we have three smaller deadlines. First we have ‘photo-copy’ deadlines, where all photos need to be approved by the heads of photography and myself,” said J.P. Hayes, head of writing. “Then our second deadline is ‘design’ deadline, where the spread design needs to be approved by the heads of design. The final [deadline] is called ‘EIC’ deadline where the editors-in-chief approve the spreads along with our advisers Mrs. Palmer and Ms. Nagle.”

Courtesy of Idea File
El Diablo’s talented staff collaborates to create nationally-recognized yearbooks. This fall, senior photographer Katie Wang’s photo was featured on the Fall 2017 cover of Idea File, Walsworth’s magazine for yearbook inspiration.

With only a few deadlines outside school hours, the majority of the work on the yearbook is done by the staff in class.

“During class we work on our spreads by editing photos, writing captions, and designing our spreads,” said Stephanie Coan, section editor.

All staff members use Photoshop along with Walsworth to design their spreads and ensure the yearbook maintains a cohesive look that works well with the theme each year.  Spreads are assigned based on sections chosen by students prior to deadline days. Staff members are able to have a say in which spreads they create and what they want to work on.

“We actually let the students choose their assignments, so they’re not assigned a specific section like academics or sports,” Mrs. Palmer said.

As the staff finishes up their deadline late Tuesday night, they leave feeling accomplished and proud of the work they’ve created that the rest of the school will appreciate come springtime. While the longer hours needed to create such a successful product can be stressful at times, the staff finds the most comfort in the fact that they are working together, and will always have each other if issues come up.

“I really love that we’re all friends… everybody in the class helps each other,” Coan said.

Hayes, a senior and second-year staff member has a great appreciation for his peers and their cooperation, which is his favorite part of being on the yearbook staff.

“The class is super collaborative so I have literally worked with everyone because everyone has different skills whether it is photography, writing, design, or anything, and all of those elements are needed on each spread,” Hayes said. “I love working with these people; they are my family and when the book comes out it is so fulfilling to see something that we all worked so hard on and created together.”

To get more behind-the-scenes glimpses at this year’s yearbook, follow El Diablo on Instagram.