Adviser & Student of the Month
We are honored to recognize these educators and students who have embraced Jostens Yearbook philosophies and are helping their school celebrate moments that matter.
Kate Weidkamp, adviser
WOODCREEK HIGH SCHOOL [CA] || REP: JANE KILGORE
Kate Weidkamp has taken a good yearbook program and has consistently improved it. Weidkamp’s nominator, Jostens Yearbook Ambassador, Casey Nichols, impressed that “from the start it was clear Kate is a master teacher. She’s taken a solid program and made it much stronger. The yearbook has become more journalistic, has been honored at the state level in many categories, and continues to rack up impressive sales.”
Weidkamp’s yearbook rep, Jane Kilgore, notes, “I agree with Casey 100%. Kate has even started mentoring other school advisers in the area. She excels in all areas of running a yearbook program. Kate is one of the best teachers I have observed, in addition to her standards of excellence in yearbook creation.”
More About Kate Weidkamp
BACKGROUND // Six years ago, I was asked by a previous principal to consider advising due to my background in graphic design. I was, at the time, wanting to be a full time teacher and the prospect of advising seemed like something I could really enjoy and find ownership in on our campus.
KEY TO ORGANIZATION // I keep an agenda book, I use lots of charts, color coding, notes on my iphone and technology. If you asked my kids they would tell you that I also love colored sticky notes and metal clips. Everything has a place and organization gives me peace of mind.
TRADITIONS // We have a lot of traditions and make sure to focus heavily on building our culture and making it what we want. I grew up with a motto in our household from my father and it is “Get it done. Get it done right. Have some fun while getting it done.” I live by the quote and make sure to instill it with my students. We are family and we eat a lot of food, celebrate each other, we are silly with one another and support everyone through the tough times. Cultivating that ownership and making Lykos something special that students treasure, insures their investment and also helps keep them coming back year after year. In our classroom we have a giant stuffed buffalo, a Keurig, mini fridge, microwave and an endless supply of popcorn and candy to help us each day.
JOSTENS // My first experience as an adviser was at JAU in my homeroom with John Cutsinger. His passion, energy and contagious joy told me that this was where I was supposed to be and the adviser I wanted to be for my yearbook staff. Mentors like John Cutsinger, Casey Nichols, Sarah Nichols and countless others that have nurtured and supported me have made this journey less isolated and more community-based. The tech, educational materials and all the tools that Jostens provides is wonderful, but it is by far the people involved in Jostens and the yearbook community that has fueled and propelled me forward each year.
PRIDE // Our yearbook strives to bring pride to each area of our school and it has been able to better show the amazing things that are happening around our campus. I love that our yearbook is an ambassador to our community and it is one of the strongest tools to show just how wonderful the students and the staff are here. I love my school and I am proud to help capture how special this place is and the hard work that we do to support our students and benefit our surrounding community.
ADVICE // Be patient. Advising and building up your yearbook and staff takes time and cultivation. It doesn’t happen overnight and you can easily burn out if you try. The other thing is you, as the adviser, need to own and model the culture you want in the room.
STAFF // Above all else, it is the staff that keeps me coming back each year and pushing me through those bad days. I LOVE my students and I feel so blessed to be a part of some of the most impactful years in their young lives. I see them more than their parents at times and that is not something I take lightly. It is the best compliment to myself and what I do as an adviser when a staffer decides to commit themselves year after year to our room, our yearbook and our staff family. They are my “why” for what I do and motivation to keep making it better.
Gabbi Mobarak, student
YUKON HIGH SCHOOL [OK] || REP: TODD FEATHERSTON
When Jennifer Bean, Gabbi Mobarak’s adviser, nominated her, she noted “Ms. Mobarak has been responsible for structuring a class around the production of a publication; designing and implementing policies and procedures to establish and maintain structure and accountability of the staff; planning and overseeing both broad and finite details of a publication marketed to the student body; executing coverage goals to include each of the school’s 2,500 students in the yearbook multiple times; collaborating with staff members about design, writing, and coverage goals; and editing and monitoring the progress of pages to ensure that all printing deadlines are met.”
BACKGROUND // I was on my school’s yearbook staff in middle school. I took Journalism I and also helped out with the yearbook during my freshman year. I’ve officially been on staff for three years, acting as editor-in-chief for two years.
LOVE // I absolutely love my staff and my adviser. Throughout the year, we’ve grown to be incredibly close, and I’ve loved seeing them grow as writers and photographers. They make all of the hard work and late nights worth it.
FAVORITE MOMENT // Last year, we went to Anaheim for JEA/NSPA, and I will always remember when we went to Huntington Beach. I had never been to the beach before, and I’m happy that I got to experience it for the first time with some of my close friends. I learned a lot from that trip and made a ton of memories.
SKILLS // Overall, the yearbook program has taught me how to communicate and work with others in order to achieve a common goal. Everything that I’ve learned from creating the yearbook has applied to different areas of my life whether it’s my job, sports or schoolwork.
ADVICE // Never give up and always have the courage to ask questions and communicate with those who have experience on the staff. I wasn’t even going to be on the staff, and now I’m in my second year of being the editor-in-chief. In that leadership position, I’ve learned that it’s hard to help staff members that are struggling when I don’t know what they’re specifically struggling with or are confused about.
Bean noted that she was nervous as a new adviser of a prestigious program, but that Weidcamp made the transition easy. “Gabrielle has been incredible in that her trust and respect for me has never wavered,” Bean said. “She has shown me as much encouragement as she has the rest of her yearbook staff.”
At Jostens, we love seeing students learn about their passions and skills through the yearbook experience. Gabbi’s talents are making an impact on her school right now and will surely impact her future in a positive way.
Want to nominate someone?
Know an adviser or yearbook staffer who deserves special recognition? Nominate them for the Jostens National Adviser or Student of the Month Award!