As Fusion Books launches in France this year, the Directors of Fusion Books France, Ainhoa Emaldi Azkue and Julien Beuvignon interviewed Fusion Books’ first customer, Melina Futia the yearbook coordinator for the International French School of Sydney, who has been using the Fusion Books Online System for the past 4 years.
Have yearbooks always been a tradition at your school?
Melina Futia: No, they were not really. When I arrived at the Lycée Condorcet in 2007, there had been only two yearbooks, and at the time, the publication was very modest. As I was responsible for the implementation of yearbooks in my previous school, the Principal of the time (Mr. Francis Cappe), had proposed to carry out and coordinate a yearbook worthy of the name for the school. With joy I took this responsibility, especially as the whole school was very keen to achieve a real yearbook. I chose Fusion Books because it was an easy to use online system. In the past, I worked with printers which required the use of editing software (such as Quark Xpress or Adobe Creative Suite) but it was so time consuming! I had to all but learn the profession of a graphic designer. Fusion Books has made it all so simple that I love it!
What is a yearbook and what does it mean for your school and its stakeholders (teachers as students)?
Melina Futia: The yearbook is a reflection of a school over a year. It features the things done by students and teachers, and this, in all areas addressed by the school – the educational success of thematic trips, excursions, cultural exchanges, to sporting events, or updates on work and infrastructure. It displays, in a visual and practical medium, the educational opportunities of our school and is a celebration of its success.
How do you manage to create the yearbook? Is it hard to plan?
Melina Futia: It’s not very complicated but it still takes time. I begin by organizing the pages I want to include (for example, the editorial of the Principal, the photos of the administrative and teaching teams, the pages assigned to classes, etc.).. Then I send the first of my many e-mails to the team to remind them to fill their pages before the deadline I set. From kindergarten through high school, I assign two pages to each teacher. It is very important to regularly remind teachers, who tend to forget their pages, or do everything at the last minute! I also organise demonstrations to teach teachers to use the application of Fusion Books, including page creation and upload photos. I also offer sessions for interested students. I ensure the integration of student work, sporting events and other holidays or events that involved the school during the year.
How long does it take you to produce your yearbook? Is it compatible with the rest of the program and with the agenda of teachers?
Melina Futia: It takes me about 2 months (but I have had a lot of practice!). Teachers must fulfill their pages in their own time but for the high school level, some choose to leave that responsibility directly to students. I’ve never had a specific complaint from teachers. In fact, generally questions arise just because each teacher wants to create the best page in the yearbook. Initially, most of the high school French teachers were not sure how to do it, but once they saw the printed book, they were impressed. And now, everyone expects a new yearbook will be produced each year. The students love to create pages for their teachers and their classes. Primary teachers are very creative and the battle for the best page is tough!
You use the online solution to Fusion Books. Was it simple to set up?
Melina Futia: Very simple, nothing more than an ID and password.
What do you think of the final result of your yearbooks, the services offered by Fusion Books and delivery?
Melina Futia: Fantastic. The quality is excellent, the service is impeccable and the delivery has always been on time (sometimes ahead of schedule).
Fusion Books launches in France, with a system translated into French. Do you have a note of advice for future French users?
Melina Futia: Do not be afraid to try something new! It’s a good opportunity to showcase your school, its stakeholders and the things they do.
Melina thank you and all our best wishes for the future!