This year’s yearbook staff is working hard to capture long-lasting memories

Just three years ago, back in 2018, the original staff member that ran FHC’s yearbook retired halfway through the year, leaving English teacher John Fisher with little to no knowledge on the subject—he was left to pick up the scattered pieces of a class with much potential.

Fisher’s outgoing and infectious personality, as well as work ethic and positive outlook, made him the ideal candidate to take over. But, unfortunately for him, this meant stepping outside of his comfort zone because little did he know, the yearbook was going to be such a unique class.

“I didn’t do anything like yearbook in high school,” Fisher said. “I had to learn how to [run the class] from the ground up. For one thing, I learned how to use the software [that helps us to create the yearbooks] which is really important—it took me about half a year to do so. After that, I learned how to manage the class in general. Yearbook isn’t like any other class; it’s a business.”

It took Fisher a whole semester to completely understand the complexity of technology and art that the staff members face on a daily basis. When he finally understood what the yearbook course was all about, Fisher also saw the potential his staff held. 

Everyone in the classroom is assigned a role based on what pages in the yearbook they’re in charge of. Fisher has found it important that his staff is covering every sports team, club, and event that FHC has to offer its students—everything run through our school has some form of tribute to them. 

Fisher isn’t oblivious to the stigma around yearbooks and how they’re only full of a few well-known seniors. Further, he wants to change this way of thinking entirely. As well as covering each event, the yearbook staff is trying their best to include everyone more than once throughout this memorable book.

“We try to highlight the senior class and Varsity sports more than anything else—we try to give them the spotlight,” Fisher said. “But, this year, we are trying [to make the yearbook more inclusive for everyone by] making a spread called ‘The Student Spotlight.’ The very first one is going to be highlighting the exchange student population because we have six students [from around the world] in the building. We will have two to three Student Spotlight pages throughout the book where we will try to find random individuals in the school that may not have the accolades that other star athletes and scholars get.”

Each year, Fisher’s selected staff grows in their creativity, and they seem to get a grasp on what the student body wants to see more of, including more individuals.

Senior Abby Berlin is on the same page with Fisher when talking about the need to include more of the student body, but it isn’t just about seeing other people’s faces on printed paper.

“Normally, [the yearbook staff] will try to find people who are a part of clubs or find interest in that activity to interview,” Abby said. “We can seek them out by emailing them or talking to them in school. I get to connect with a lot of people [through interviewing] that are in different grades or even people in my grade that I’ve never spoken to before. Especially when you go to events for school to get pictures and interviews, people want to be in them and want to be highlighted in their yearbook—I meet a lot of people that way.”

I’ve never taken an elective quite like this one before—it’s my first time, and I absolutely love it.

— Bernice Graciya

Abby has been very social for the majority of her high school experience, and yearbook plays right to her strengths. Interviewing different students on details for her featured pages creates an environment for this first-year staff member to meet more of her peers. 

Along with interviewing, Abby finds herself making new friends within the yearbook classroom itself.

“Being on the yearbook staff, I feel like there’s already a wide range of people in the class in general [that I didn’t know before],” Abby said. “The people in yearbook just make the environment in the room comfortable. I wish I could have joined yearbook sooner, but I didn’t have any room in my schedule before this year.”

Not only does Abby find physical comfort in Fisher’s classroom, but she also leaves her stress at the door each day because of how peaceful and laid back everyone on staff has made the room. Through stretched-out deadlines and creative freedom, each member is able to enjoy this elective more than their peers who have a core class-based schedule.

Because there are only so many hours in the school day, Abby never got to experience a class exactly like this before. Prior to her senior year, she has taken a variety of art classes which she feels led her through this love of digital art. Unlike Fisher, Abby had some background knowledge coming into the world of digital media and software.

Alongside Abby for 2021 being her first year on staff, junior Bernice Graciya also finds that yearbook has helped her meet more people in and outside of Fisher’s cement walls. 

As a part of staff, Bernice’s position is to go around Ada asking local businesses to put an ad in the back of students’ yearbooks. Bernice’s job is vital to the production of yearbooks and is a great honor. Fisher putting great amounts of trust in his students, like Bernice, is something that has helped the staff to feel more comfortable in what can pose as a stressful environment. 

“I am not an artist,” Bernice laughed, “but the nice thing about yearbook is that it doesn’t matter if you’re the best, you just get to create what you love. I’ve never taken an elective quite like this one before—it’s my first time, and I absolutely love it. The yearbook staff are so welcoming and having this class sixth hour is so relaxing, and I just always feel happy at the end of the school day.”

While each year brings in students eager to create the perfect yearbook, it’s obvious that the 2021-2022 staff is going to be on top of their game. High school can be full of stressors and anxiety triggers, so being able to relax at the end of the day while still being productive is very unique. 

There are high hopes for this year’s collage of memories, especially for the seniors, and everyone on staff wants to make sure to live up to their peers’ standards. Fisher pushes his students every day to create pages that not only their classmates will be proud of, but something that they themselves will fall in love with as well.

“I always hope that every year the student body will love the book, but I hope, specifically, the seniors will love it,” Fisher said. “Every grade can purchase a yearbook, but it’s the senior class who will look back on it, and it will hold a lot of value to them. But inside of the classroom, I think it’s so cool that my students can control what goes inside of their own yearbooks—it’s so powerful. You not only get to design it, [but] you also get to say you’re the one who has your own creation.”