Working on tight deadlines while dealing with a staff that’s been cut in half seems like a typical business scenario in today’s roller coaster economy. Moore County High School junior Rebecca Baxter deals with those real-life challenges nearly every day, however.
As the first-year editor for the high school’s yearbook — The Raider — Baxter has to deal with four deadlines throughout the school year. And this year she’s also dealt with a shrinking staff.
“It’s going really good. It’s really organized this year,” said Baxter. “So far we’re really ahead.”
Requirements for joining the yearbook staff aren’t too stringent — it involves creating a project on poster board in a design as it would or could appear in a yearbook. But requirements for becoming a successful member of the yearbook staff are great — primarily due to the yearlong commitment involved.
And with the staff about half the size of what it was a year ago, there’s even more pressure to get the job done. Baxter, who is in her third year as a staff member, said that being organized is the key.
“It’s very important because we went from having 14 girls on the staff to just seven, and four of them are freshmen,” she said. “The organization part of it is important. I have to give credit to my advisor, because she is very organized.”
Like Baxter, MCHS teacher Cathy Kendall is in her first year leading the yearbook staff. Kendall has taken over the advisor’s roll from Karen Neal, whose added class load didn’t permit her to return this year.
Baxter admitted that jumping feet first into her new role as editor has been stressful at times, especially with the first deadline approaching.
“We have four deadlines. The goal this year is not to meet them, but to beat them,” Baxter said. “Sometimes it’s very overwhelming. I try to be the influence on the staff since I’m the oldest. I try to let them know that it will be OK; if you miss a deadline it’s not the end of the world. But there are times when you want to go scream, and there have already been a few of those times this year.”
Still, Baxter manages. Perhaps that’s what she’s best at. She is a member of the student council, the FCCLA and the FFA. She considers herself very involved in FFA — her prize potatoes have claimed first place at the Lincoln County Fair two years in a row — but she’s focused on the yearbook.
And when things get too hectic, she says her priorities are squarely in place.
“I just always remember that family comes first,” she said. “I would never put the yearbook before family and I always tell myself that whatever happens, it happens for a reason and things will always work out.”
For Baxter, her simple directive is planning. There is one staff camera and staffers often use their own equipment to shoot and document events. She spends her first period of the day with the yearbook staff and she tries to spend an additional hour each day working on what she hopes will be a treasured keepsake.
And all the while, she’s putting an emphasis on the MCHS seniors, even though she’s a junior.
“This yearbook will be pretty much about the seniors because this is their book; this is their year,” said Baxter. “It’s pretty hard to put myself in that position, being just a junior. But the seniors have helped us out a lot … letting us know what’s going on.
“I feel like when the student body looks back at the yearbook, especially this yearbook, they will have a greater appreciation. I think they will have an appreciation of all the memories we (record) and all the stories we’ve written.”
Baxter is the daughter of Debbie and Randy ‘Goose’ Baxter.
ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher