Tigerland Yearbook Welcomes Change With Spring Delivery, QR Codes

The seniors at A&M Consolidated High School will have the chance to do something no other senior class in the school’s history has done before—sign each other’s yearbooks before graduating and heading off to college.

The students at Consol will be participating for the first time since this year’s staff has made the switch from a fall-delivery to a spring-delivery schedule. The Tigerland yearbook has traditionally been distributed each fall, but this year’s staff, which was made up of 17 students and two faculty advisers, decided they wanted students to leave in May with their yearbooks in hand.

“The yearbook program at Consol has a history of excellence, and it was sad that so many students either never received or lost interest in the book because of the fall delivery,” yearbook adviser Freda Carraway said. “The staff agreed that students would respond positively to the change and be excited to receive the book before school lets out.”

The Tigerland staff will distribute the 2012 yearbook on Monday, May 14 during Advocate period and all lunches. Students who pre-ordered a yearbook will be able to pick it up on Monday with a student ID or receipt. Extra copies will be on sale for $80 until sold out.

The staff met each of the five deadlines set by the publishing company, and, according to senior and editor-in-chief Alison Garlick, they excelled because of their talents in photography, design and writing.

“I was continually impressed all year with the staff’s hard work,” Garlick said. “Everyone took their work seriously to meet our deadlines. We all helped one another in areas we knew best, which made the yearbook come together so well.”

The 408-page yearbook will feature the theme “humongous”—a unique spin on the sheer size of the school’s student body. With College Station High School opening this fall, Consol—with an enrollment topping 2,800—is the largest it will be. The staff brainstormed for the theme last summer at a workshop and developed their ideas in the early fall.

Because of the production requirements of a spring-delivery yearbook, certain school events could not be featured in this year’s Tigerland. The staff opted to incorporate QR Code technology to offer videos and photo slideshows of spring events.

QR Codes—short for quick response codes—are barcodes that link directly to a URL on the Internet. These codes can be scanned with a free smart phone app, and the content is immediately available to view.

Balfour Yearbooks, the Dallas-based yearbook publishing company that prints the Tigerland, introduced QR Code technology into the market as a way of adding interest and a media element to the traditional publication.

“QR Codes are an exciting way of capturing and reliving the events of high school,” Amanda Reynolds, Balfour representative and College Station resident, said. “Instead of looking at a graduation spread in the yearbook, the entire school community will get to watch bits and pieces of the actual ceremony or see a photo slideshow set to music.“

The Tigerland will be scattered with 10 codes linking to events like Consol-a-polooza, prom, graduation, spring sports and more. Those without smart phones will still be able to view the content of the QR Codes on their computers.

“Below each code is a short web address so everyone will have access to the videos,” Reynolds said. “Since Balfour will be hosting the content for a minimum of 30 years on our server, Bal4.tv, the URL is a must to ensure access.”

Students who have not purchased a yearbook but would like to are encouraged to put their name on the waiting list. Waiting list books will sell for $75.

“Students can come to the yearbook lab during B, C or D lunch/Advocate to sign up for the waiting list, but they won’t need to bring money until pick-up day,” Carraway said. “Students must put their names on the waiting list in person.”

A limited quantity of extra yearbooks will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Tigerland yearbook has been recognized around the state for journalism excellence. The 2011 yearbook won the Distinguished Merit honor at the Texas Interscholastic League Press Association competition in April. The staff members received six Honorable Mention awards and one third-place award for photography.

The current 2012 yearbook was also chosen by Balfour to be a national sample. Sample yearbooks are used as journalism resources in workshops across the country.

Less than 4 percent of the yearbooks produced by Balfour are chosen to receive this honor.

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