And what the 15 students did with that knowledge impressed a publishing company so much the Growler yearbook was nominated to be included in a teaching book and a CD-rom for 2004.
Walsworth Publishing Company selects what it deems as outstanding layouts from yearbooks throughout the country.
Those layouts that are superior-rated are chosen from each yearbook and made available as a model to schools that use desktop publishing but prefer not to design their own yearbooks.
As co-editors of last year's Growler, Alison Moll and Cathleen Barkett were surprised and proud of the finished product. "Oh my gosh, I was in shock," Moll said of last year's completed yearbook. "I couldn't believe it looked as good as it did. I was very very impressed with our whole staff's work. I had been looking at the whole book on paper for so long. I caught myself pointing out mistakes as I read though it and I was like 'no I can't do this, I have to enjoy it,'" she laughed.
But finding out their edition of the Growler would be used as a teaching tool surpasses anything they could have imagined, agree the 18-year-olds, who give much credit to their advisor/teacher, Sally Lape.
"I was just blown out of the water that mine and Cathleen's work would make such an impact! I am very honored because lots of people don't know that Cathleen and I made those layouts. It's kind of like we do all the behind the scenes work, nobody knows we're there," said Moll who is attending the University of Mississippi and planning on double majoring in marketing and real estate and minoring in advertising.
"I never thought that we would get something like this. I thought maybe we would get an award for our finished product or something into their gallery but nothing like this."
Barkett was equally amazed at what their hard work had achieved. "It was very rewarding to know that our ideas were going to be used across the United States as a teaching tool for other yearbook staffs," said the University of Miami student who is majoring in business. "I knew the book was going to be good but not that good."
The experience of working on the staff as editors was invaluable they said because it taught them many life lessons. For Moll is was time management and responsibility as well as better communication skills.
"I think it really taught me that not just my opinion counts because other people have so many other creative ideas also and I have learned to listen to those and be a lot more open," said Moll who along with Barkett was a reporter her first year on the yearbook staff.
Barkett said she learned the importance of combining patience and exactness to make something the best it can be.
They also discovered being an editor of a yearbook staff isn't all smooth sailing. It took much time including Sundays and summers, meeting deadlines and making certain everyone did their job.
The upside was being able to work together as a team and the pride in the end result.
"I enjoyed making a part of history and working with a wonderful group of people," chimed in Barkett. "Both years were great, but this year was the most rewarding because I knew that it was my senior class' last book."
Their recent achievement still has the college students finding it hard to believe. But it's true, and they see no reason it can't happen again.
"What I hope others learn from our yearbook is just to respect the work that we have done, remember all those great memories from 2001-2002 and enjoy the yearbook," Moll said.
"Be patient and helpful," Barkett offered as advice to this year's yearbook staff. "Be sure to finish all of the work that is given to you. It isn't fair to leave your unfinished work to someone else."