Yearbook staff pushes through obstacles

The production of our school’s yearbook for the 2020-2021 school year is going to be dramatically different. However, we have a very capable staff of seniors that includes Hannah Hass, Abby Gasperson, Jordan McFarland, Marissa Copolo, Lindsey Billips, and Kylee Thompson. Most of them have been involved in the yearbook prior to this year. COVID-19 has impacted our school and community to a great extent. It creates a lot of roadblocks and challenges. 

 In a normal school year, the Graham Beaver football game takes place at Mitchell Stadium. During the week leading up to Homecoming, we have a Spirit Week consisting of dressing up and decorating the different hallways. The fact that these events can’t take place this school year significantly affects the seniors. Marissa Copolo (12) is very sad that seniors can’t have the traditional school year events. “I think we’re missing out on our senior year,” she said.  Not only does this affect seniors, it also greatly impacts the yearbook. Games, dances, and spirit weeks are events that students know very well. Sadly, there won’t be coverage for these this year. It takes a lot of content out of the book. This gap in content now has to be filled, which is proving to be quite difficult. 

This year is definitely different from the last. Staff members are having to improvise a lot more and use creativity. Certain guidelines must be followed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hannah Hass’s (12) strategy with interviewing and getting photos is to “wear a mask and keep the proper amount of distance from others.” Jordan McFarland (12) just wants to make sure she stays updated on all of the current events that are going on. She knows that this year is definitely out of order. 

The whole format of the book has to be changed. Instead of focusing on certain sections like sports and different classes, the book is being done in chronological order. This is a big contrast from last year, where they created sections for each individual sports team.  “The typical events that we usually cover like sports, homecoming, dances  are not happening,” Mrs. Elizabeth Metcalfe, yearbook sponsor, said. 

While normal events aren’t happening, there are some oddities that are worth covering. Copolo believes that the two-week shutdown should be covered in the book, alongside our return. “It’s hard to feature events and plan the yearbook. It’s set up completely different from last year,” she says. 

A few events that normally happen in the first month of school are the Graham-Beaver game, Spirit Week, and hallway decorating. These events are the typical events that are covered. Because of COVID-19, the school wasn’t able to have them. It would’ve been difficult to social distance and stay safe since these events would have attracted a large group of people. Unfortunately, it’s not safe for large gatherings right now. 

Since COVID-19 has restricted public education, students were given the option at the beginning of the year between being a remote learner or a public learner. The amount of remote students increases everyday, which presents another challenge for the yearbook staff. It affects the amount of content, including photos and interviews, that they are able to get. However, this staff is more than capable of accomplishing these challenges. Mrs. Metcalfe stated that most of the students have been participating in the staff for multiple years. “I think that our two new students will fit right in. They’re very creative and up to the task,” she said. 

Even the staff members are confident in each other. McFarland believes that this group can overcome this year’s challenges since they are a very creative group. Certainly with all of their creativity and might put together, they can make this year’s book and get it out in time for the end of the year. It’ll definitely make for some good final memories, as this is their last year at Graham High School.