As a class that involves going out to events and interacting with people, the Yearbook staff is dependent on the type of face-to-face social interaction that is restricted today. They have had to work their way around the various COVID-19 regulations that are in place in order to produce this year’s yearbook.
The class is divided into virtual and hybrid students, with about ¾ being the former. Everyday, including hybrid off days, the entire Yearbook staff checks into Zoom. Yearbook advisor Chandler Brown and the editors give them reminders of certain deadlines or updates. The staff then gets put into breakout rooms with one of the three editors to discuss the status of certain assignments and features. After that, they have the rest of class time to work offline.
In order to design pages the staff has been using Layout Pro, as opposed to more complicated programs like Adobe InDesign, with district provided MacBooks. They have also had to rely on selfies and headshots from students and virtual interviews in order to obtain the information they need to produce an actual yearbook.
However, the process behind creating a yearbook while simultaneously adapting to the anti-social atmosphere the pandemic brings has not been easy for the staff.
According to staff member Lauren Wiacek, a virtual student, one of the biggest challenges she faced this year was meeting deadlines during a time when getting assignments done is not as fast or efficient.
“You can’t go out and get the things that you need, like photos, so you have to wait on people to respond,” Wiacek said. “People are like ‘Can I get it to you tomorrow?’ and it’s kind of like ‘Sure,’ but the deadline may be the day after tomorrow. Am I going to be able to make the deadline in time, and is the page good enough? Do I have all the information I really need?’”
Editor in chief Rachael Wexler sees interviews as more difficult to get now then they would be during a normal school year. Usually, a student would be pulled out of class for a quick interview during school. But that’s not an option for this year.
“We had to reach out through social media and texting, and that can be a big problem because a lot of people don’t respond or they just take too long to respond,” Wexler said.
Wexler said having some authority on the staff has eased her nerves throughout the whole process.
“If I wasn’t in a leadership position, I’d be double stressed because I wouldn’t feel like I had enough control,” she said.
Not all is bleak for Yearbook, though. The feeling of camaraderie among the staff has given them the motivation to reach out to others for help and get their work done.
“You’re not really wanting to be the person who has to speak up and ask ‘How do I take these pictures?’ or ‘How am I supposed to write this caption?,’” Wiacek said. “Having that bond right away made it easier to reach out to others.”
From the point of view of an editor, Wexler said that the team has improved in work ethic and attitude.
“I think they’re more encouraged and excited to get it because they know that it’s kind of fun,” Wexler said. “I think they’re doing better.”
The Yearbook staff has had to face the trials and tribulations that this year has brought, with many struggles and successes along the way. The camaraderie and perseverance among the staff has allowed them to carry forth, producing a yearbook that recounts this unconventional year.
The final pages were submitted May 28th and the Yearbook is expected to arrive in July. Distribution may occur at registration.