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South Valley Journal

How yearbooks will look as schools rush to complete them

May 26, 2020 10:24AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Hillcrest High co-editor Maya Everett said the yearbook’s due date to the printer was April 6, weeks after March 13 when the soft closure of schools was announced.

“Yearbook looks a lot different with all of us at home,” she said. “We’re struggling to include spring sports since many of those didn’t have home competitions. We also are incorporating COVID-19 in a positive way, showing how we’re staying connected to teachers and the school.”

Hillcrest, like most schools, has to complete pages by a series of deadlines throughout the year. There were still some clubs that had yet to take a group photo.

“Robotics had their regional qualifier, so we have lots of photos from that we can use. With theatre, we have a write-up from the main character in ‘Richard II,’ which was ready to take the stage when the school closed. With sports, it’s been harder. Soccer had photos from an away tournament. Track had one home meet, but our photographer was going to go to the meet the week after school got canceled. The theme of our school year and our yearbook is ‘moments,’ so we’re asking some seniors and team captains for their favorite moments and asking them to drive by and we’ll fill in the gaps with those,” said Everett, who shares the editor position with Emily Smiliach.

Jordan High’s yearbook also was weeks from being completed when schools were closed.

“We had about seven spreads – mostly spring sports – left and needed photos,” said senior Brooke Gooch, who is a yearbook writer. “We’ve asked kids for photos at practices.”

Jordan’s yearbook also will include a coronavirus spread.

“We wrote about it, explaining what it was, and then tried to include some funny stories, how students are keeping from going stir-crazy and tried to keep it lighthearted,” she said. 

However, both girls don’t know what is to happen to spring yearbook sales, distribution and even, students signing one another’s yearbook.

That was something Alta High yearbook adviser Denise Ferguson was planning to address, but in the meantime, was tracking the school’s yearbook as it traveled from California – where the printer closed since it was deemed a “non-essential business” to another printing facility in Tennessee.

“We’ll get it from Tennessee when all of this subsides,” she said. “We’ll have to figure out how to get it to our students.”

Alta’s book was in the final stages when the soft closure was announced and, like the other yearbooks, had a challenge with spring sports.

“When Murray (School District) closed on the 12th, I said, ‘Let’s just get photos today, just in case,’” she said. “We got tennis, but they weren’t in uniform. Boys soccer dressed in their uniforms for the practice for us. We have what we got from lacrosse and girls golf, and a parent gave us some baseball action photos. With baseball, we also got permission to use the Lifetouch portraits and converted those to black-and-white to create a grid, like baseball cards. It looks fabulous, like we planned it.”

Memory books in middle school also had deadlines to meet after the soft closure.

At Elk Ridge Middle, adviser Steve Pollock said that this was a special edition since it was the 25th anniversary of the school opening and for the first time, the 75-page memory book will be hard cover.

“We missed so many things we would have liked to include like the last concerts of fine arts – orchestra, band, dance – and the student talent show, which we had a whole page devoted to,” he said about the last 40 pages they were turning in. “We had to scramble to figure out how to fill some of those.”

Elk Ridge, like the high schools, reached out to students to learn how they were spending time at home with their families during the soft closure to include in the memory book. The staff also included more candid shots of students. 

Already included in the book is a spread of the anniversary of the school, including highlighting four teachers who are still teaching there, and photos, which included the first principal and assistant principal.

As the students were home, Pollock and a parent volunteer, who worked with staff on writing and layouts throughout the year, ensured that the last pages were completed.

“What was funny about photos missing with this yearbook was that we had ordered yearbook shirts and were waiting for them to come in,” Pollock said. “So, we didn’t even have our yearbook staff photo to include.”