The Petit Jean yearbook staff distributed the 2017 yearbook on the front lawn Thursday, April 27.
“My favorite thing about a yearbook is its ability to transcend time,” Petit Jean Editor-In-Chief and sophomore Kaleb Turner said. “People can look back at a yearbook 40 years later and still feel fully a part of their experiences documented in that book. Not many things can do that, but a yearbook can.”
Turner explained the theme, which was revealed on distribution day as ‘Found’, as one that is fitting for Harding without being too cliché. He said that when people see the book, they will know it belongs to Harding University.
“The staff and I literally started planning this book this time last year,” Turner said. “It’s been a full year, and people are just now getting to see the finished product. That’s exhausting, but I think it makes the big reveal even sweeter.”
Distribution day was a day-long event on the front lawn with music, a photo booth, stickers and a distribution location where students picked up their book. Turner said distribution day was the biggest day of the year for the staff. He said it is a day of confirmation and celebration for those who have worked on the book all year long.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people standing around the front lawn and simply flipping through the pages,” Turner said. “I can’t wait for the moment people see themselves or their friends and stops to admire that page. In that moment, all our work will be validated because this is ultimately the student body’s book. To see their expressions and joy from the book will be priceless.”
The creation of the yearbook takes an entire team composed of the editor-in-chief, assistant editor, copy editors, layout editors, photographers and section editors. With the help of Student Publications’ public relations and marketing directors Samantha Shepard and Libbie Turner, the yearbook staff started promoting the book and its distribution day on social media with a video and 10-day countdown.
“Often times, deadlines found us scrambling to make things fit and look nice, but in that was teamwork, passion and dedication that I’ve not witnessed anywhere else,” Turner said. “[The staff] have become some of my closest friends, and they’ve worked tirelessly to make this book a reality for our university.”
Turner said working on this book has taught him patience, understanding and perspective. He said he hopes that each student, faculty and staff member finds that this yearbook is a representation of each person, event and story at Harding during this 2016-17 school year.
“Through the students we’ve collaborated with, the faculty and staff we’ve met, and the stories we’ve told, we’ve documented this year’s campus collective,” Turner said. “That’s no task and idea that we took lightly, and it surely didn’t come without struggle and trial. I hope we’ve captured what it means to be a student at Harding University, and I hope our community remembers that on Thursday when they see this book for the first time.”