Dawson County High School teacher Beth Hamby, 40, has been working on yearbooks since she was 14 years old.
"I am one of those people who got yearbook in my blood and it never went away," she said. "I was a high school editor, a college editor and then when I graduated I worked for a yearbook company."
As the current yearbook advisor for the high school, Hamby instructs and mentors 20 students in-class and out of class on writing, editing and designing.
"My students pretty much do it all. I try to get them a little exposure to everything, from writing and designing to photography because a lot of times they come in with strengths, but other areas can be developed," she said.
Hamby's passion for working on yearbooks has spread to her students.
Sophomore Addison Welch said she "fell in love" with yearbook class.
"I did yearbook in eighth grade [at Dawson County Middle School] and I really enjoyed it so I wanted to do it in high school. I really fell in love with it more than I ever expected I would," she said.
Welch was recognized in mid-March with the Gold Circle Certificate of Merit from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association during its 88th annual Spring Scholastic Convention in New York.
According to the association's Web site, there were 4,956 entries from colleges, universities and secondary schools. Being awarded the certificate put Welch in the top 15 percent of the nation.
Her entry was in the personality profile category and featured a 2011 Tiger Yearbook story on fellow student Kristy Allison.
"The profile was about her life in general. I have known her since we were little and she has such an inspiring story so I knew it would be really good. I was so excited when I wasn't the only one that thought it was a good story and it was recognized," Welch said.
Welch, the 2012 student life editor, believes her yearbook involvement will help build a stronger professional portfolio.
Hamby agrees and recounts past students who have received internships and scholarships due to their work with the yearbook.
Recently, sophomore Miranda Abe has been accepted to a weeklong student CNN program for the summer.
"I love it when I get e-mails from former students going, ‘Yearbook helped me more than anything else that I took in high school,'" Hamby said.
According to yearbook staff, one of the year's most gratifying moments is when the yearbooks come in.
"I love it when the final book comes in and the students open the box and the room is silent because they are speechless," Hamby said.
"I also like it when they look at their work and they go, ‘OK, that was good, but let's make it better.' I like it when they set higher goals."
Throughout the year students vote and submit their work for various journalistic competitions. Welch's entry was the staff's first to the Columbia association.
Recently staff members traveled to Athens for the The Georgia Scholastic Press Association Awards Ceremony.
"The past three years we've done really well at the Georgia Scholastic Press Association and now we are beginning to make a statement on a national level," Hamby said.
She said she looks forward to submitting the students work for more competitions in the future.