Yearbook adapts to remote learning

The+yearbook+journalism+class+of+last+year%2C+before+the+COVID-19+pandemic

Photo provided courtesy of Michelle LaScola

The yearbook journalism class of last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic

Hazel Booth, Online Editor

Yearbook Journalism is the class at Neuqua Valley that is responsible for putting out the school’s annual yearbook. The shift to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a shock to the publication’s system, forcing the publication to adapt to the new landscape; a landscape filled with communication only via various apps, and limited events.

Michelle La Scola, the Neuqua English teacher who runs Neuqua Valley’s Yearbook class, spoke about how they have adapted to the remote environment. For example, they have more specific editors, such as the Photography Editor, in order to maintain hierarchy in the class. La Scola hopes that even when remote, both new and returning students “know how to follow [the system] correctly.” 

Some  challenges that the class has faced include finding sufficient opportunities to take pictures during various student events. Indoor events are particularly difficult to get pictures of. The process requires extra bureaucracy, with any student photographers attending having to fill out a COVID waiver (a form stating that they do not have COVID-19) and La Scola herself having to go through the Athletic Department to confirm there is room available for her photographers.

“That is my biggest worry,” said La Scola about obtaining student pictures for Yearbook, “That is very concerning.” 

Yearbook is not in charge of coordinating student pictures; that falls to the administration, but she did speak about some possible plans to incorporate student pictures into the yearbook. She described a program where students could take a picture of themselves with a wall behind them, so that the company in charge of student pictures could later transpose the student onto a background. For seniors, “they are working on logistically coordinating [a better option] with the imaging company that we use.”

Mia Dunsmore, the Junior Editor of Yearbook, gave a student perspective on how the class has adapted to the current situation.  One of Dunsmore’s duties is taking photographs for the yearbook, and she describes being a photographer on the ground as “eerie” with all the extra regulations and reduced number of people. In regards to building community during COVID-19, Dunsmore said that editors have been reaching out to students to offer help and are working to create a culture where students “advocate for themselves.” They’re working on making sure new students don’t feel “totally intimidated” about joining the Yearbook staff by assigning each new student a “peer mentor” on the spread they are working on. 

Yearbook is hoping to be able to go through with their usual events and end of year release, in one form or another. According to La Scola, Yearbook hopes they are able to distribute the yearbook to students the usual, in person, way in May, but if that is not possible, they will mail yearbooks only to Seniors, while other classes can pick theirs up at the beginning of next year. Yearbook is making the best of the remote year, and both the Dunsmore and La Scola spoke highly of their experience with the classes this year.