Thomas Jefferson

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A Book is Worth a Thousand Memories

Posted 04/16/2021 by Nakya Castille

Previous yearbook covers over the years. photo by Ava Ward

It is time to get your yearbooks, TJ!

With the 2020-2021 school year nearing its end, capturing perfect moments for the yearbook has become very urgent for the Thomas Jefferson yearbook staff. With the coronavirus still being very prevalent in the world, society is slowly taking its time getting back to normal. As a result, all the more memorable moments you would expect to see in the yearbook, such as homecoming, football games, Challenge Day, and many more, will be missed in the 2020-2021 yearbook. As disappointing as that sounds for students and teachers alike, there is still hope for the yearbook this year. TJ, now following a hybrid learning model this semester, has had some wonderful opportunities to capture moments, even if they consist of faculty and students wearing masks. Students can expect many new changes to the yearbook this year. 

Senior Caitlin Beery has many responsibilities as the yearbook Editor-in-Chief. She explained, “My job on the yearbook staff is to oversee everything. As Editor-in-Chief, I have to look over all the spreads and help my editors with anything they may need for their individual spreads. Additionally, I was in charge of portraits for the junior, sophomore, and freshman classes. This was a very huge project, but in the end we were able to accomplish our task and get photos of people.”

This year’s unique sports schedule posed a challenge for the yearbook team. “The book is pretty much the same as it has been in its previous years. However, since season C and D sports were scheduled after the book, we had to supplement. That alone does not change how the book will be finished as everyone will still get the chance to see the sport segments,” Beery revealed.

It takes many different individuals to build a successful yearbook. Junior Sofiya Alferow, a member of the yearbook staff, informed, “I am a part of the design team. My job, along with three other students, was to create base templates that the team members could use for their assigned pages. I created three different templates for the academic categories. After those templates were available for use, I started working on my own designated spreads. It was fun to see how everyone was able to change up their designated templates made by me in order to fit their page. While each page may look similar, there are still elements that stay consistent throughout the entirety of the book.”

Alferow and her fellow staff members developed a new aspect of the yearbook that was never necessary before this school year. “We implemented sections in the yearbook that give readers a throwback to pre-coronvirus/pre-quarantine life. This is essentially to give people some nostalgia from good days,” she commented. Given how coronovirus has stifled a lot of activities and even lives, it is always a good thing to reminisce about the good old days when times were not as tough as they are now.

With many events being canceled or having a limited attendance due to the coronavirus, it was hard for the yearbook staff to collect their customary gallery of photographs for their spreads. Editor-in-Chief Beery lamented, “It has been very difficult to say the least. We have had a hard time communicating with people and getting photos, and unlike past years, all photos have to have proper coronavirus  protocols, such as masks and practicing social distancing. We have been very fortunate so far with sports, seeing that none of them have been canceled as of late.” With the coronavirus regulations in place, it has been very hard for the yearbook staff to acquire any media from events that were previously unregulated before the pandemic struck. Alferow had a very similar response: “It was definitely a challenge for us to get yearbook photos for all pages. Since we were not able to take our own pictures, we had to rely completely on communication via email and ask people to take and send pictures themselves. It was not once that we did not get a response, but we stayed persistent. In some senses, we were able to have photographers go out and take photos of any games, responsibly socially distanced with masks as protocol instructs.”

While it was very difficult to get any photos done when most in-person events were either canceled or limited to a certain amount of people, the staff succeeded in getting media, and their photo library continues to grow as the middle and end of the school year approaches. Alferow concluded, “I think something the students can look forward to from the yearbook this year is looking back at the photos from before this whole crazy coronavirus conundrum started. It will bring in some nostalgic moments for all.” Editor-in-Chief Beery added, “This year has been very different to say the least, and this book will be a great way to memorialize this year. We have done a great job as a staff to cover how strong and resilient the TJ community is adapting to the current situation. There was a lot of hurt this year but there were also a lot of stories of resilience and triumphs that we tried to cover in the book.”

Even though it has been a really rough year, looking back on some amazing memories always brightens a dreary situation. Spartans should take the time to buy a yearbook and look back at the memories they made during tough times like these. To buy a yearbook, click here.