2018-04-29 / Insight

Yearbook chronicles school history in Almont

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Mark Sosnowski watches as McKenzie Finn edits one of the pages of The Raider. “I thought it would be a lot harder,” she said. 
Photo by Phil Foley Mark Sosnowski watches as McKenzie Finn edits one of the pages of The Raider. “I thought it would be a lot harder,” she said. Photo by Phil Foley ALMONT — Most everyone has one tucked away somewhere in a closet or the attic — a faux leather bound book with a school logo packed with earnest faces sporting outfits no one ever actually wore to class.

Yearbooks are as much a part of the high school experience as homecoming and prom. This year is no different at Almont High School where 32 students, ranging from sophomores to seniors have been putting the finishing touches on the 13th edition of The Raider under the watchful eye of Mark Sosnowski.

Almont’s “yearbook is not a traditional journalism-style class,” Sosnowski said. “We use journalism style ideas, but we don’t write true journalistic stories. Our yearbook serves more as a history book capturing the events of the school year. I would say we are more in the way of visual storytellers with what we do.”


Emma Stefanski, who’s been working in yearbooks since the sixth grade, plans on studying to be a middle school teacher after she graduates from Almont High School. Emma Stefanski, who’s been working in yearbooks since the sixth grade, plans on studying to be a middle school teacher after she graduates from Almont High School. Students who take the yearbook class actually get credit for a technology class.

Sosnowski, who has taught social studies at Almont for 18 years and minored in journalism in college, took over as yearbook sponsor in 2005. He’s not sure when Almont published its first yearbook, but in the 1950s and 60s it was known as Almonte.

“It’s more of a history book with visual storytelling,” he said. The Raider chronicles one academic year in Almont, which means it delivers in the fall.

This year’s book began with a publishing conference in August put on by Jostens at Howell High School. That’s where editors Emma Stefanski and Chris Framboise, along with Sosnowski came up with this year’s theme, “There’s no place like home.”


Sociology teacher Mark Sosnowski has overseen production of The Raider, Almont High School’s yearbook, for 13 years. 
Photos by Phil Foley Sociology teacher Mark Sosnowski has overseen production of The Raider, Almont High School’s yearbook, for 13 years. Photos by Phil Foley While some schools and colleges have dropped yearbooks in favor of CDs or online versions, Almont has stuck with a traditional yearbook. “People like a physical book,” Sosnowski said.

That doesn’t mean the yearbook hasn’t been affected by technology. Sosnowski said improvement in Jostens’ software has made it easier to design pages and keep track of who’s in the book and how often.

He said it took a couple of hours for Almont’s editorial team working with a Jostens designer to “turn our ideas into reality” for the book’s cover. When he started with his first yearbook Sosnowski said that process would have taken days, if not weeks as proofs made their way back and forth between the high school and the company’s offices in Wisconsin.

Technology hasn’t eliminated every problem. Framboise said it’s still a lot of work to track people down to get candid photos for the book.

“Our aim,” said Sosnowski, “is to get each kid’s face in three times and at least twice.”

“It’s really fun getting everyone included,” said junior McKenzie Finn, another one of the editors.

Stefanski, who’s graduating this year, said being on the yearbook staff is “pretty cool.” She added, “I feel like I’ve made a mark on the school.”

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