Making the Yearbook From the Couch, COVID-19 and It’s Effect on the Yearbook Staff


Photo by: Jaiden Smith

Written by: Alyssa Tyler, Assistant Editor

On March 17, Gov. Laura Kelly closed down all school facilities for the rest of the school year. Kansas State High Schools Activities Association (KSHSAA) canceled all spring sports on March 18. With students and staff no longer allowed on school grounds, the yearbook staff had to figure out how to fill 21 pages that were originally meant for spring sports, graduation and prom. But yet, another issue has come up with the yearbook staff, the yearbook adviser, Erin Horn and Editor-in-Chief and senior Jaiden Smith are the only people on the yearbook staff who have access to their yearbook software.

Luckily, Jaiden Smith and I have access to the software needed on our laptops, so we are both able to continue as normal. The other staff members do not have the luxury of that, so they are doing everything else, such as gathering photos, conducting interviews and coming up with page ideas.  Jaiden and I have taken on the ‘extra’ work that normally would be done by other staffers. We are laying out the remaining pages, placing information on the pages and editing between the two of us,” said Horn.

Because of many different factors, this will arguably be one of the most memorable quarters for years to come. 

“Just because we aren’t sitting in a classroom, doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. It looks completely different, but school and activities are still happening. We are covering the virus and how people are social distancing, online learning and the T.R.A.I.N program that is happening at home. You will see some new pages you wouldn’t normally see: “then and now”, “being a teacher’s pet”, “year in review” and “trends”, said Horn.

Horn also described a silver lining of this new process is that she now has more time to work on the yearbook since she isn’t face-to-face with students from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. every school day. But Smith has also said not being with the staff is one of the hardest parts as well.

“I miss the staff the most. We all get really close as the year goes on since we work together so much. I miss being able to work in class where everyone has the technology to create their pages. But now Mrs. Horn and I are the only ones with the technology on our laptops so we have to make the rest of the pages while everyone else writes the stories and captions,” said Smith.

Horn described Smith as a ‘rock star’ for her dedication and endless work for the yearbook. Smith has won multiple awards for her photography and has been featured in their yearbook publishers book, Portfolio. 

“Within a day or two, she had written an entire story over the virus, finished her boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball story. She’s just a rockstar like that,” said Horn.

At the end of every school year, current or soon-to-be editors of the yearbook meet and try to come up with ideas for the next year’s yearbook theme. 

“In August, we chose the theme ‘Changing Perspective’. You tell me, could we have picked a better theme? I don’t think so. Students are living in a future textbook unit. I hope they understand that this is a time in history that will be talked about for the rest of your lives and beyond.  The yearbook is documenting that. You will be able to look back and see what people did during social distancing. You’ll be able to look back and see what teachers did to change their hands-on classroom activities to something you could do at home. You’ll be able to see what seniors, who missed their final sports season, did and how they felt. This is a yearbook like none you’ve ever had before and won’t have in the future,” said Horn.

No matter what the yearbook staff has had to go through, there will still be a 176-page yearbook that covers the 2019-2020 school year. 

  “We’ve put in a lot of time and effort to make this book memorable. As a yearbook staff, we already work behind the scenes to make sure people remember the best things about high school. We work so hard on this book all year and it‘s our baby, so if the students don’t like it, don’t tell us,” said Smith.