Yearbook creates printed product despite challenges


Anna Rachwalski

Grady yearbook has has to adapt to different circumstances brought by the pandemic. They anticipate that few students will submit portraits, so they will fill the empty space with student features.

Callan Cucchi

The 2020-2021 school year has been one for the books, or in this case, yearbooks. 

Despite the numerous challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the yearbook staff produced a completed project that will offer a unique perspective on a year without students in the building.

“When we went to class, we would all get together and discuss what needed to be done in the book,” sophomore writer Emilia Weinrobe said. “For example, what needed to be edited, revised and taken care of. By having a similar organization virtually, we were able to produce a yearbook.” 

Much of the work for the yearbook was done through email and social media, allowing the staff to become more proficient in these areas. Students also learned to manage their time to meet deadlines.

“While producing the yearbook, I really learned not to procrastinate because when we’re at home, there’s unlimited distractions,” sophomore writer Paris Hakim said. “There are so many excuses as to why I’d be late on a deadline. If we were in school, I’d get it done faster because I’d be able to get my interviews done faster;so, I could finish things more efficiently.”

The yearbook staff had the opportunity to attend several in-person events as long as no more than two staff members attended with their adviser Gayla Blair.

“We definitely had to come up with a lot more ideas that would allow us to get good content while still maintaining safe guidelines and social distancing as much as possible,” said Co-Editor-in-Chief Daniela Restrepo. “We have a lot more personal stories about student and faculty lives at home during quarantine.”

Students were asked to submit yearbook pictures virtually by Friday, Feb. 12. However, the yearbook staff had no control over the number of students who submit pictures, forcing them to adjust to these barriers.

“Right now, we’re hoping and praying that we get a decent number of student photo submissions,” junior editor Will Charlop said. “However, like in years past, if you don’t have a photo, then you won’t be in the book.”

Another challenge presented to the yearbook staff was senior superlatives and the lack of diversity of those nominated via a Google Form. Only a small number of seniors nominated their classmates for superlatives, so the resulting top six nominees for each superlative didn’t represent the Class of 2021 as a whole. 

Once this issue became clear, the staff gave seniors another chance with a new nomination form. Even with another chance to vote, the results stayed similar to those in the first round, so the yearbook staff had no choice but to continue in order to meet its deadlines. 

“The issue with superlatives was a problem on both the staff’s and the seniors’ parts,” Restrepo said. “We didn’t receive that many responses, which led to the superlative results lacking diversity, as they consisted of mostly the same group throughout all of the winners.”

Yearbook sales are lower this year than in previous years, but students have until the end of February to purchase a book. 

“Before the pandemic hit, we projected our sales would hit 700,” Blair said. “Right now, they are at 430. I will be pleased if we can get to 600, especially since this is the last yearbook to bear the name Grady High School.”

Despite many challenges, the yearbook staff produced  a final product that it’s proud of. Although different from previous years, it provides a reflection of a year filled with many new changes.

“The yearbook staff wants the Grady community to know that this yearbook isn’t going to be empty,” Charlop said. “It’ll be just as, if not more, interesting than yearbooks in years past due to its unique place in the year of a pandemic. It’ll also be the last yearbook that says Grady, because of our name change to Midtown High, so I encourage everyone to buy this historic yearbook.”