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Yearbook staffs overcome challenges of chaotic year

The Carl Albert High School yearbook staff. (Provided photo)

By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

Spring Break was supposed to give the Del City High School yearbook staff some extra time to work together on the upcoming edition. Stephanie Terry, yearbook teacher, said they were already a little behind with a few weeks left before their print deadline.

But those plans evaporated when concerns about coronavirus swept through the state.

Del City High School student Julie Glisson works on the yearbook. (Provided photo)

The yearbook staff, which normally works closely together at school, had to finish the project remotely after school was closed for the remainder of the year. But not all students were able to help due to lack of internet and computers at home.

“I did not realize how difficult it would be to finish the yearbook,” Terry said. “It was difficult to connect with some of our students because they did not have internet access, and we still needed to contact people for stories and to get quotes.”

The students had all the photos finished and most of the interviews, but still needed quotes and captions. Terry stayed in contact with them by phone and video chats to get the project completed.

They designed and submitted all the pages to the publisher, Walsworth, using the company’s online platform.

“We could only have one person using the website at a time and it was much harder not being able to show Mrs. Terry in person,” said senior Abby Littleford.

Students did include a page about the coronavirus, which canceled the final two months of the school year. Several other students expressed frustration about the virus in their quotes.

“A lot of the seniors were really hard to talk to at the end,” said Julie Glisson, editor in chief of the yearbook. “They were super bummed out about missing all the good things like sports and prom and not many wanted to talk about it.”

The Del City yearbook has the fitting theme of “Wait, What.” Students selected the theme earlier this school year, long before the world was thrown upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. The book closes with photos from the WILD Week, the school’s annual philanthropic venture.

The Del City students wrapped up the yearbook a couple weeks ago. Glisson said finishing the yearbook is normally a time for celebration, but as a senior she had mixed emotions.

“It’s always such a big victory when we finish it, but now that we’re done, I’m super disappointed,” she said. “Our yearbook staff is pretty close, and we formed some really great friendships outside of it.”

Terry applauded her students for working through the challenges.

Carl Albert sophomore Trista Shelton works on pages of the yearbook. (Provided photo)

“They took what they had and did their best, and I think we have a pretty good finished product,” she said.

The Carl Albert yearbook staff was in a similar position.

Tami Dearborn, Carl Albert yearbook teacher, said they planned to finish their yearbook after Spring Break, but were derailed by the coronavirus.

“It was irritating and frustrating that this happened, but our students pulled it off,” she said. “I think it looks good.”

Dearborn also saw her yearbook staff shrink as they had to shift production all online. Students tried to track down captions, quotes, and photos, primarily for SWAG week and several spring sports.

“Many of our students could work from home, but some didn’t have a computer or internet at home,” she said. “

Sophomore Trista Shelton said they had a tough time getting the final pieces for the yearbook.

“It was a lot more stressful trying to figure out how to complete everything within the time limit and when we didn’t have access to all the students and contact,” she said.

The Carl Albert staff also incorporated the COVID-19 pandemic with a special page sharing what students did during the shutdown. Shelton said she was involved in that page.

“It was fun talking to students about what they did and how they handled it,” she said. “Missing school was definitely a challenge for everyone.”

The Midwest City High School yearbook staff finished their book the week before Spring Break.

“I wanted to finish it that Wednesday before Spring Break because we were supposed to be at the state basketball tournament later that week,” said Kerri Bulman, yearbook teacher.

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