Every student on our high school yearbook staff wants to produce a stunning book. Veterans on staff will tell you the most magical day of the school year is distribution day. After all those hours of planning, designing, stressing and anticipating, we now get to open the first Jostens box hauled in by our plant representative and rub our hands over the cover. Is it everything we imagined? Yes, we've looked at the pages online hundreds of times, but nothing compares to having the weight of the book in our hands, seeing the color pop on the glossy paper. And then, the moment arrives when we share the book with crowds of eager students...

Is it chance that the yearbook meets or exceeds our expectations? No, the secret is in balance. As a high school yearbook adviser, I have come to realize through years of trial and error that the most important skill for my students to learn is teamwork. This involves daily collaboration and a conscious effort by all to establish and maintain balance. One definition of balance is stability of mind and body. We want to avoid that feeling of losing our minds, to stay away from deadline disasters.

Each person on staff brings different skills and passions. Each has a different personality. When Jill feels valued as a photographer, she's more willing to go to that wrestling meet, take 200 pictures, Photoshop and file and upload. We might use one great picture from many hours of her work. How many times will she do this if she thinks that no one cares? When Jake feels valued, he'll revise the cover five more times after school while his friends hang around in the parking lot.

Today I watched a 1989 Academy Award winning German video on YouTube about Balance. It's about five individuals floating on a platform. They balance each other's weight. When one person moves, another moves so that they don't tip each other off the platform. When an intriguing box is pulled onto the platform, however, the individuals let their own desires get in the way of their need to balance the platform. Eventually, they push each other off until only one individual remains on the platform, the box now out of reach. When I watched the video, I immediately thought about the yearbook staff. We start the year off with teambuilding activities and continue them throughout the year. We talk about valuing each other, too, but sometimes it's difficult to remember to set aside our own egos for the good of the group and for the benefit of the yearbook. One of the difficulties is developing leadership roles while also maintaining balance. It can be challenging for a yearbook editor to motivate peers without seeming bossy or pushy. Sometimes editors think they can do the work better themselves, or sometimes they think it's just easier to do it themselves. They don't always understand that they face the danger of ending up with no one else on board...that stunning yearbook now out of reach.

NOT FINISHED...