How and why we started Summit Yearbooks

It all started when we were working as yearbook reps. About to sign a new school, Natasha got a call from the school’s yearbook advisor: the deal about which both the principal and adviser were so enthusiastic was now off the table. A parent complained to the school board that their child’s info was outside of Canada and now the school board was investigating FIPPA and its responsibility to protect students’ privacy in relation to yearbooks. Natasha lost that account and nearly two more, including her largest.

We contacted the BC Privacy Commission and sought legal advice. The answers shocked us: We as yearbook reps, along with schools and school boards, could be held financially responsible for reprinting and for crippling fines. With no backup plans, no employment elsewhere, with no new contract to beholden us, we immediately left our jobs as yearbook representatives.

Now here we are putting all our eggs into one basket again because we’re passionate about design, education, and youth empowerment. We’re passing on to students skills and encouragement we teach to our own kids. We believe that entrepreneurial skills are a part of self-sufficiency. Many people rely on side businesses for extra income to put themselves through university, or to make money while staying at home raising kids, or to serve as personal insurance during a recession.

While many high schools offer courses in Business, we know that that success in business and self-promotion increasingly lies in good design, community engagement, and ethics. Yearbook is the perfect medium for teaching these skills.

Yearbook classes and clubs can be gathering places where students make books that other students buy while a company gets rich after visiting a few times a year to help them make it. Or it can be a place where confidence is found, communication skills are honed, and careers are born—not as a side effect, but as the objective. This is school after all, not a production facility. Making a product should be the outcome after a stellar education.

Yearbook used to be a club, now it’s often a class. The transition has been rocky, with little for set curriculum. We want to help evolve the curriculum, while forcing business practices to evolve.

This is the new face of business: personal, honest, and with a transparent identity that includes values stood for. As we learn more about how some of our capitalism has destroyed our environment while standing on the backs of minorities and poorer classes, we long for businesses with faces belonging to people who actually care about their impact first, profit second.

We want to show young people gazing hopefully into their futures that they can get ahead while being ethical. For Summit, this means:

  • obeying the law
  • keeping profits local
  • better business practices at the cost of smaller profit margins
  • supporting and creating equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, or ability—in the classroom and in future hirings
  • environmental stewardship.

We are a local BC company looking forward to offering unprecedented educational support and having fun while doing it.

Thank you for your interest!


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