Even in the age of digital media, yearbooks have an important role as a tangible record of a year in students’ lives, argues Kathy Daly, with publisher Herff Jones. Senior superlatives, a staple of high school yearbooks, showcase students’ achievements, personalities, looks and hobbies. You can update senior superlatives to make them more humorous, timely and substantive, a better reflection of the students in the senior class.
Most Likely to Achieve
Give a twist to a traditional superlative. Instead of the often-used “Most Likely to Succeed,” for instance, try “Most Likely to Take Over the World,” like University High School of Normal, Illinois; University High’s other variations include “Most Likely to Become President,” “Most Likely to Become a Millionaire” and “Most Likely to be Famous.” Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, added “Most Likely to Become a Priest or Nun” and “Most Likely to Change the World” for the Class of 2011.
Sports Stars and More
Instead of simply “Most Athletic,” take a cue from Ridge Point High School of Missouri City, Texas, which voted on “Most Likely to Be on an ESPN Highlight Film” for the 2014 class. Instead of the traditional “Most School Spirit,” consider a fun category like “Loudest” or get more specific with “Always Brings a Vuvuzela to the Stadium” or “Best Game Day Face Paint.” You can also broaden the definition of athlete to recognize those who don’t often appear in the limelight. For instance, select a “Behind the Scenes MVP” or “Star Supporter” to honor first aiders, water boys and others who backed up the team members.
Signs of the Times
Because a yearbook captures the spirit and events of a year, tie in the students’ pop-culture trends. University High voted for the student most like to win “American Idol,” while Ridge Point selected the one most likely to appear on “Dancing With the Stars.” Find out what reality show obsessed the students, or what their favorite series to binge-watch was. If they’re fans of “The Walking Dead,” for instance, include “Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.” Turn to social media for other superlatives, such as “Top YouTuber,” for the student with the most followers on her channel, or “Top Tweeter” for the one with the most Twitter followers. Ridge Point High School opted for a humorous take on social media with “Most Likely to Do Anything for a Re-tweet.”
Each school has its own trends and culture, as does each community; mine these local features for superlatives that are unique to students’ experience. For instance, “Best Car” is a popular superlative, as at Union Catholic High School; the students of University High give it a Midwestern twist by voting on the best truck. If your school uses uniforms, like Union Catholic, feature them; students there voted for classmates who are “Always in Dress Code” and “Never in Dress Code.” If your region has a signature food, like Baltimore’s soft-shelled crabs or Philadelphia’s cheese steaks, devote a superlative to it; select the student who can eat the most or cook it the best. This category is especially fun when the local specialty is spicy or smelly, like the wild ramps of East Tennessee or the Hatch green chiles of northern New Mexico.
Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.