Ms. Donnelly Interview: 2021 Yearbook Exclusive


Jeffrey Guimaraes

The 2021 yearbook cover is modeled after a generic retro VHS tape cover. From the suggestions, Senior class voted “retro” for this year’s theme. The cover concept is a storytelling device made by Jeffery Guimaraes to “rewind” into students’ memories

Adrian Linares

The pandemic has affected the school’s ability to run school dances and events, causing Seniors to worry about this yearbook’s content. Low-income families and students who’ve been impacted by the pandemic may be curious about the yearbook process and if it’s worth it to purchase a yearbook this year. Ms. Donnelly, Kearny High School’s yearbook advisor, offers insight regarding the process and content in the following interview and has extended the purchase deadline until March 26th. 





1.  How is the yearbook price decided? 

Generally, I set the yearbook price at $80 in September and gradually increase the price as the year goes by to ensure we’re able to pay for the number of books we need to order. However, the beginning price can fluctuate each year because I base it on the total amount of Seniors per class and compare it to the number of seniors getting their portraits. These numbers are used to estimate the amounts of books I need to order. I try to keep the price as low as possible but the majority of seniors wait until distribution day to purchase the yearbook and that makes it hard to know how many we need to order so the cost needs to cover the extra yearbook orders we place to account for the distribution day sales. Potentially, we could sell free yearbooks in the future if we were to fundraise freshman year. If there are any underclassmen out there interested in meeting to discuss fundraising through the years for your yearbook cost, I would LOVE to talk to you and your class advisers. Please email me at [email protected].

2a. Where does the profit from yearbook sales typically go? 

If there is a profit, the money stays in that year’s yearbook account, and I am unsure what happens after that. I am the middleman of the operation. My aim is to make sure Senior portraits happen, that there are always enough books and that we pay the printing cost. I sell enough books to pay the printing cost and then have a few boxes of extra books left over. If the Seniors purchased their books in the fall, it would help keep the cost down as we would not need to estimate and over order.

2b. On average, how much profit is generated from yearbook sales?

Before I took this role, I was told that the yearbook accounts were often at a deficit. In the time I have been the advisor I have been able to make sure we pay the printing bill, but we never generate much profit. 

3. Were there/ are there any options for students who can’t afford a yearbook?

     Students who can not afford a yearbook should email me at [email protected] for info. We have many teachers who generously offer to chip in for seniors who cannot afford a book. This year we created a “deposit” price for those students who want to reserve a book, but do not have the total cost at this time. 

4. Was there a decrease in sales this year? 

         So far sales have replicated typical trends so there hasn’t been a decrease and hopefully, everyone who wants a copy can get one. If you want a book, you can order them by March 26th, This year SALES ARE ONLINE ONLY. 

 5. Would you consider lowering prices/ partnering with a different company (for printing expenses) to make it widely more affordable for students in the future? 

        We have an excellent working relationship with the company, Herff Jones. They offer a variety of options to keep costs down while providing excellent visual options. Their representatives, editing software, and extra help at every stage of yearbook production are invaluable. 

Changing companies would not really change the cost, as the genuine issue driving the high cost is the need to estimate the number of copies and ordering extra books for those who wait to buy a copy at distribution. 

One idea for this could be to fundraise specifically for the yearbook and other senior student life activities starting Freshman year. I created the senior google classroom (and the fresh, soph, junior) a few years ago in an effort to organize and establish a better mode of communication for important school/event/yearbook info. Planning and communication are the keys to everything, and with google classroom communication and planning are much more streamlined.

6. Is it possible to make a reduced rate/ free option in the future for students with free/reduced lunch? 

I think this is a FANTASTIC IDEA and should be posed to the administration for steps on how to initiate it.

7. What differentiates LMS’s yearbook (and its price) from KHS’s yearbook?

I am not sure. Possibly the type of book size, page count, etc? I am not familiar with the LMS process.

8. How are you and the yearbook team accommodating for photos since there’s less material (no senior or Junior prom and now school events)?  

We are using forms and google classroom to collect page content. Read below:


All the proposed yearbook pages have a form that is posted to the senior google classroom. If you wish to be pictured on a page in the yearbook, find the form for the pages you want to be on, and fill it out. 

If you do not see a form, email [email protected] so that I can create a form. 

This year has been challenging, but I am doing the best I can and can only work with the seniors who are taking part. The key is to PARTICIPATE AND PAY ATTENTION. I want to make sure that everyone is included in the yearbook, but I can only use the content that students send in.