Putting together a yearbook during the pandemic

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 4:55 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 7:51 AM EDT
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HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - Not learning in-person has created issues for students across the country, including making it difficult for editors to get a high school yearbook together.

Yearbooks are usually full of photos from big events, from football games to field trips to dances, but with the pandemic, yearbooks were looking a little empty.

If you look at the Champlain Valley Union High School yearbook from the year 2020, you wouldn’t even necessarily notice that something was different. At the time of the book’s publication, COVID-19 was just setting in. But now in the year 2021, the editors had challenges they had to overcome “We needed to fill the length of a normal yearbook. I just wanted to just include everything we possibly could,” said Mackenzie Marcus, a CVU senior, and co-editor of the yearbook

They started off the year with no content from the previous spring because students weren’t in school. But for the editors of CVU’s yearbook, that wasn’t going to stop them. “This book specifically will be special as a senior, as I am a senior, and I tried to make it special for that reason,” Marcus said.

“This one, I’m going to look back on and be like, ‘Wow all this stuff happened,’” said Amanda Gagne, a yearbook co-editor. She says it was about balancing COVID content with memories students will want to hang on to years down the line, but it will look different. “Where there are selfies and collages, I think that’s really cool this year, and something that is different.”

“We wanted to include as many things as we possibly could, and see if we could fill that space,” said Carol Fox, a yearbook advisor at CVU.

Club pages expanded, sports pages were filled, thoughts and feelings of students were included through surveys, and photos from outside the school were included. Fox says as they gathered content, they wanted an honest look at the year, but they also want good memories to look back on. “I went into a classroom because we were desperate for photos. And I said, ‘all we have for photos is kids looking down, wearing a mask, looking down on their desks.’ And one of the kids says, ‘Because that is just our life now.’ And I just kind of stood back and looked at the teacher and she said, ‘Okay, we are going to do something fun,’” Fox said.

“COVID has been a part of the year. We didn’t want to emphasize that necessarily,” said Marcus. The co-editors say they were committed to leaving it normal length -- about 200 pages -- despite being short on content. Although they didn’t have large schoolwide gatherings, the yearbook club tracked down photos, named superlatives, and thought outside the box.

They say, despite hurdles, this might be their favorite yearbook yet. “Just being able to create a yearbook in such a challenging year, is an accomplishment in itself,” said Marcus.

“I actually enjoyed taking the extra steps than compared to what we have had to do in the past,” said Gagne.

The yearbook did go to publication by the deadline on March 31. Gagne and Marcus say they are very proud of the work that they put in.

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