There’s Something You Should Know… About This Year’s Yearbook!

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Art/Photo by Rebecca Yan (11)

The cover of this year’s Yearbook, titled “There’s Something You Should Know,” was portrayed in bold colors and eye-catching designs that intrigued students to open up the book and read the well-written pages filled with memories of the students at West High. Jason Irie (11), a student who bought a Yearbook, acknowledged how “I thought the Yearbook was really appealing and well designed. Each section was nice and well-written, and I enjoyed looking at it.”

Rebecca Yan, Social Media/Business Editor

   Last week, the 58th volume of West High’s annual Yearbook was passed out for all students to read. 300 pages were filled with eye-catching designs and unique pieces of writing that showcased the spirit and pride of West. And yet the question is, what went on behind the scenes to create the Yearbook?

The Story Behind It All

   Even with the many limitations and restrictions that COVID-19 brought to this year, the Yearbook publication Capitaneus wanted to use these drawbacks to highlight the captivating stories of the student body. Co-Editor-in-Chief Khushi Kumra (12) described the main goal for creating this year’s book. “A lot of people assumed there wouldn’t be a Yearbook this year because of COVID-19, and we wanted to ensure that the circumstances did not stop us from uncovering all the stories of the West High students. We knew there were many interesting stories out there and we wanted to find and give them a light.” With these goals in mind, and time for planning and brainstorming, a perfect title was created: “There’s Something You Should Know”. 

   Additionally, Capitaneus continued to use the special qualities of this year to their advantage. “Because our school was basically split in half, we wanted to bridge the gap between the school — connect the distanced and blended students with their common stories. This led to the planning of the design, which came mainly from the tone.” Kumra expressed how they wanted the tone of the book to be relatable, almost like talking to another student. And from this, the design was more colorful and “eye-catching to connect with what the year felt like.” Though this year was different by far, Capitaneus used these circumstances to highlight the stories of West through the thematic elements and designs of the Yearbook. 

Reaching Out For More

   After the theme and design of the book was set, staff members of Capitaneus would be tasked with reaching out to students and interviewing them about their different experiences. For first year writer/designer Elizabeth Shapiro (9), reaching out to students, specifically people she has never talked to before, proved to be a challenge that she would learn to quickly overcome. “Even though at first I didn’t really like interviewing and talking to strangers, I really enjoyed listening about what they were passionate about. It’s so cool to hear other people’s perspectives on things.” Though reaching out to new people may be nerve-wracking at first, being able to hear and then showcase a student’s story in the Yearbook is, for Shapiro, truly a memorable experience. 

Picture Perfect

The Yearbook wouldn’t be complete without elements of photography. Because of the COVID-19 safety precautions, Capitaneus photographers were unable to go to school to take pictures with their cameras. Nevertheless, they worked around this problem by reaching out to students and asking them to take their own pictures. Decorating the pages of the book, one can see pictures of students comfortably at home, posed and smiling. Though this was a different approach to getting photos, it provided a unique and new take to the Yearbook. For photographer Madison Kim (12), reaching out to students for photos did provide some challenges. “The biggest struggle was definitely getting people to answer back when I contacted them.” But even though this was something Kim definitely struggled with, she learned how to work with what she had. “When students didn’t answer, I had to work with it by trying to contact more people for photos before the deadlines.”

The Final Product

   Once the design and writing elements are set and photos are captured, writers and designers were also tasked with creating different spreads on topics ranging from sports to academics. Because of this, staff members were expected to finish their work by certain deadlines. Shapiro noted how “Yearbook had such a tight schedule and strict deadlines” but this helped her stop “procrastinating, and it really helped push me to my limits.” Having deadlines was helpful because it made sure that pages of the Yearbook would be finished in time for their final plant deadline in April. It was important to the staff that the book was ready for distribution at the end of the year.

   Now that the school year is almost over, the Yearbook provides a way for students to be able to witness their stories and experiences on paper. Even with a hectic year, if there’s something you should know, it’s that there will still be a Yearbook ready to capture the exciting moments of West High.