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“Oceans of Grace” at NRCA

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was within me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

This year’s Sabre staff members unpacked, sorted, and repacked 139 boxes of 2022-2023 yearbooks weighing a total of 4,438 pounds to prepare for schoolwide distribution on Aug. 21.

When the yearbooks arrived the week before, they were grouped by last year’s homerooms. Seniors graduated and everyone else moved to new grades, so the first task of this year’s staff was to sort and deliver the books to students in their new homerooms. Graduates without siblings still at NRCA had the option of picking up their yearbooks at school or having them mailed home.

Distribution of the Sabre concluded the process that began in the first weeks of August 2022 when the previous staff sat down to brainstorm the theme. Led by senior editors Avery Thomas, Gracie Ferguson, and Sydney Armstrong, the staff selected “Oceans of Grace” as the theme and 1 Corinthians 15:10 as their central verse.

Yearbook adviser Suzanne Lyczkowski, who also teaches AP Psychology, explained the publication process that happens every year.

“It takes us the entire school year. It all starts with the theme-building process where we brainstorm ideas. We think through potential things we might be interested in visually, verbally, and spiritually. A theme has to have all three of those pieces. We want to make sure that it looks good, that it sounds good, and of course, that it has a good biblical application,” Lyczkowski said.

Photographs of the ocean, waves, and sea foam roll across the pages of the yearbook. The opening pages of the book compare the vast treasures of the ocean to the “unfathomable depths of God’s grace.” In crafting the Sabre, staff balanced personal creativity with the theme as they completed their assigned pages.

“We want everybody on the staff to have the freedom to include content that they want to on their pages. But we also have to remember that it’s one cohesive book, so it has to look like one unit. Everything has to flow really well,” Lyczkowski said.

Their attention to detail and hard work paid off. The 2023 Sabre staff achieved membership in the Jostens Program of Excellence.

“Jostens is our publishing company, and they have different levels of distinction for meeting different criteria in the publication process—everything from meeting deadlines on time to including at least 50% of the student body in the book at least three times to make sure everybody’s included. We actually exceeded that one. We wound up having 87% of all our students at NRCA in the book at least three times, so I’m very proud of that,” Lyczkowski said.

The goal of including as many students as possible in the yearbook is a highlight of the class for current junior Gabe Shirley, who is in his third year on the yearbook staff.

Shirley said that his favorite part about the yearbook class is “being able to include everybody and making sure nobody is left out and that everybody feels welcome in our school. They’re not scared to speak up, and we can show who they really are.”


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