FONTANA, CA – Summit High School’s annual yearbook, Meraki, has been selected as a featured national sample by the yearbook publisher Balfour, which will employ samples of the Summit High annual at yearbook training workshops across the country.
Less than three percent of yearbooks published by Balfour each year are selected as national samples. The recognition comes just two years after the debut of Meraki, which published its first edition during the 2019-20 school year. The 2022 edition of Meraki will be the first to be distributed in-person to students at the end of the year.
“The recognition by Balfour means that our hard work is paying off,” Summit High School business teacher and yearbook adviser Shonta Ledbetter said. “We have a new staff which came together in the fall of 2019 and has worked hard to build a solid program with professional quality photography. We are indebted to our principal, Renee Castanon, whose support in getting us valuable resources has ensured our success.”
Castanon has helped provide funds for the yearbook staff to acquire professional equipment and design its own portrait studio, allowing students to receive real-world training in photography and digital media production using high quality lenses and cameras, as well as Adobe editing software.
The yearbook name, Meraki – a Greek word which means “to do something with soul, creativity, or love” – was contributed by Summit High Class of 2021 graduate Amberly Syavong.
“The yearbook we are currently working on was chosen, which has put a lot of pressure on our staff. But we are so honored,” Ledbetter said. “I think it’s important to capture the trends and document current events in the yearbook. When students look back, I want the book to trigger fond memories of their time as a Skyhawk. I find great joy in building the program of our dreams.”
Ledbetter, who has extensive experience as a professional photographer, became Summit High’s yearbook adviser in 2019, overseeing a transitional period that saw a complete turnover in staff, and encouraging students to play a vital role in remaking the yearbook experience.
The Meraki staff, consisting of 24 Summit High students, work on layout and design each day during yearbook class. Employing a journalistic approach that embraces professional quality photography, students work on spread design, typography, copyediting, and providing a caption for every photo.
For Summit High senior and Meraki president Daniel Camacho, the importance of a yearbook cannot be understated, with page after page of photos capturing special moments that otherwise might be forgotten over time.
“When we create the yearbook, we try to focus on covering events that are memorable,” Camacho said. “It’s good to know that all the hard work that we put into creating it get appreciated by our classmates at the end of the year. Our hope is that students will appreciate going through the pages and reminiscing the good times of high school.”
This is the second time the Summit High School yearbook staff has been recognized by Balfour. In 2020, a promotional video put together by Meraki staff and edited by Summit High senior Sofia Ramirez was recognized by Balfour during its National Yearbook Week.
“I could not be prouder of the work being done by Shonta Ledbetter and her amazing Meraki staff,” Castanon said. “The recognition by Balfour is well-deserved, as their dedication and care in creating the yearbook perfectly encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a Skyhawk, the spirit and camaraderie that we experience every day on campus. Congratulations on a job well done.”
FUSD_SUMMIT_YEARBOOK: The Summit High School annual yearbook, Meraki, was chosen as a featured national sample by yearbook publisher Balfour, and will be distributed to yearbook training workshops across the country. Pictured are Meraki lead editor Genesis Ibrahim-Balogun, production manager Emily Perdomo, president Daniel Camacho, IT specialist/photographer Daniel Brenes and advisor Shonta Ledbetter.