How Yearbook Has Survived a Virtual Year

Mera Seifu, Staff Writer

Sports teams are wearing masks during games, the music department is hosting virtual concerts, and the Cavalcade has become an online publication. Woodson as a whole has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition between an in-person to an online environment has changed the way different classes function, one of which includes yearbook.

Prior to the pandemic, editors attended yearbook camp over the summer where the cover, theme, and order of the pages were decided. Then at the start of the school year, students would be put into groups and assigned certain pages.

The book usually included topics such as sports, academics, clubs, and so forth, but this year, finding topics to cover has proven to be challenging. Most activities have been canceled and the ones that weren’t are currently virtual, meaning a majority of the photos are going to look exactly alike. One of the few things that did remain open is going to cover 30 pages of the book this year: sports. “We have had to become creative with our spread ideas rather than sticking to the usual,” says Jennah, editor-in-chief.

Along with the topics for the book, the ladder (order of the pages) has also changed. Topics are usually planned for ahead of time but this year the ladder is being filled as deadlines come up. We decided to do this because we really didn’t know what was going to happen this year… [so we’re filling] out the book as stuff happens,” says Jennah.

For most students, the hardest thing so far has been to adapt to collaborating virtually. “Given the nature of breakout rooms and virtual learning, it is definitely tough to work in groups and get spreads done,” says Kendall Smith, junior.

With interviews becoming virtual and events being canceled, it’s become much more difficult to connect with others and find content for the book but despite these changes, students in the class have worked together to come up with solutions.

“We really rely on each other, perhaps even more so this year, to fill out the gaps in our pages,” says Jennah.

According to Kendall, the Editors in Chief put together slideshows and tutorials to help staff members, both new and old, learn the basics of the editing software. They’ve also been utilizing the virtual environment to monitor groups and help out other students by moving around breakout rooms, as would occur in the classroom.

“I think being online, it feels like the pressure is off so we’ve had to really stay on top of some groups more so than in other years. Other than that, the yearbook is mostly done on a laptop, so it hasn’t been so bad,” says Jennah.

Although the pandemic brought on several challenges for the club, many students say that their mindset has improved as they’ve adapted to the “virtual process” in the yearbook and are looking forward to seeing the final product. 

As senior Nikitha Yemisetty reflects on this year’s publication, she finds that “the most rewarding thing is flipping through the yearbook after it’s done and realizing that so much has happened this year…even though it was all virtual.”