C-Falls yearbook staff recognized for work

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Sammi Mueller and Becky Bates with the 2016 yearbook.

Yearbook photos have always immortalized students and staff, but now a yearbook itself will be immortalized.

The 2015-2016 Columbia Falls High School yearbook was selected to be in Herff Jones’ Ideas That Fly. This annual volume showcases hundreds of exceptional, creative yearbooks from across North America.

Teacher Becky Bates and her yearbook staff used a “Think Outside the Box” theme last year for the winning book. In the front of the yearbook, the theme is explained to readers.

“Gone are the days when the yearbook was simply a smattering of pictures, with no rhyme or reason. These days it tells a story, has a purpose, and is united in word and design by one theme: think outside the box,” the page reads. “This book is an invitation. An invitation to break open our box of expectation and surprise ourselves with how much we can accomplish when we are no longer limited by labels or preconceived notions of who we are and what we are capable of.”

Bates reported that the yearbook staff created the watercolor graphics and page layouts seen throughout the book, rather than relying on templates, and she also credited the photographers for the quality of the book.

“They took time to obtain quotes and write articles at a level that hasn’t been present in our books in past years. We reached the eye appeal with design and photos but complemented it with quality writing,” Bates explained.

Bates’ main designer was 2016 graduate Emily Getts, who was in yearbook for three years. The team also included Sammi Mueller and a host of other students’ help.

“Being able to work with many of the staff members over a couple of years definitely helped us in this accomplishment,” Bates said.

The yearbook selection is a big honor.

“Out of over 1,000 yearbooks submitted every year, there have only been two other Montana schools ever selected,” high school principal Scott Gaiser noted. “This honor reflects a great deal of work, time and commitment from Ms. Bates.”

Bates will complete her fourth yearbook this year, but has chosen to leave the position in the next school year in order to focus on her other courses, including a new personal finance class.

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