Passion for yearbook drives Kiski Area educator
Creating a school yearbook is about much more than it may seem, according to Kiski Area High School's Paul Fantaski.
“It's a truly huge responsibility,” said Fantaski, a math teacher who has served as the high school's yearbook sponsor since 2000.
“You really have to make sure you're there for every type of kid at the school and coming up with ways to reflect students' opinions to make this year unique is extremely difficult.”
Navigating those challenges and making an exciting publication that carries memories and a message has earned the Washington Township man recognition over the years at the district and state levels.
Most recently, Fantaski was honored as the 2012-13 Pennsylvania School Press Association Journalism Teacher of the Year. The award recognizes the excellence of Kiski's yearbooks as well as Fantaski's contributions at the state level as the PSPA Yearbook Chairman.
“It was a surprise for me and I was humbled, very humbled,” he said.
From the viewpoint of senior and yearbook staff member Alexis Satterfield, Fantaski is well-deserving of the award.
“He's always there for you whether it involves school or something else,” she said.
Senior Jocelyn Herstek, the yearbook's editor-in-chief, credits Fantaski with inspiring and encouraging her to pursue graphic design.
“I think if anybody deserves this award, it's definitely Mr. Fantaski,” she said. “He's taught me everything that I possibly know. When I found out he won, I was so happy for him.”
The honor isn't a first for Fantaski, who had previously been named Kiski's Teacher of the Year for 2002-03. In addition to his dedication to teaching math, the honor recognized other activities, like serving as Kiski's band announcer, which he has now done for 20 years.
The yearbook has also had success. In the past two years, it has received top honors for yearbooks in the state.
As he's worked with the yearbook, Fantaski said, he's seen it grown and evolve as communications and media have. Design and layout have changed and, in a world of Internet and social media, the written content has changed as well.
With QR codes — bar codes that can be scanned with a smart phone — the yearbook is even able to include events that happen after its deadline.
When a student at Kiski Area High School himself — he graduated in 1985 — Fantaski says he had a love for journalism and wanted to be a teacher at Kiski. When the opportunity to lead the yearbook came up more than a decade ago, he jumped at the chance. He looks forward to it every year.
“It's a love for it,” he said. “It's our responsibility as a staff to present (the year) on our pages in a way that everybody can remember for the rest of their lives.”
Julie E. Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 3 Cheswick firefighters honored with lifetime achievement awards
- Student arrested at Shaler High School in roundup of Allegheny County drug dealers
- New Kensington-Arnold schools to implement visitor-screening system
- New Kensington police search for gunman in GetGo robbery
- 55th House candidates relying on relationships with voters, not media advertising
- Tom Wolf, Democrat for governor, to visit Leechburg on Saturday
- Harrison woman dead in 3-car crash in Natrona Heights
- Cookies for Our Troops marches on
- 7 in custody after New Kensington drug raid
- Springdale Council opts for pellet filtration system
- Buffalo Township grandma pleads guilty to selling hundreds of pounds of weed