How Valley Students Are Publishing Their Yearbook Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

In a school year loaded with disruptions and hurdles, students part of the Valley High School yearbook class are bound and determined to publish a full yearbook.

Planning for these types of obstacles—navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and the limitations caused by it, months of transitioning from on-site to online learning, and still expecting to hit specific deadlines—began last summer, Valley Yearbook Editor in Chief Olivia Lamphere said.

“Last year, we were able to get our yearbook fully submitted before spring break—that’s our final deadline. But this year we had to figure out how were we going to work around COVID scheduling,” said Lamphere, a senior. “We didn’t know if we were going to be in school or if we were going to have to do everything online. It’s a challenge because there are a lot of things you have to do in person.”

Janell Mikels is in her second year as yearbook adviser but also serves in the same capacity for newspaper and radio.

“With it being my second year, and the fact that I haven’t had that experience before, it has been a challenge,” she said. “We had to really plan ahead and have alternate spreads ready to go in case we needed to make changes and move things around.”

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Valley Yearbook Advisor Janell Mikels, left, and Valley Yearbook Editor in Chief Olivia Lamphere discuss page spreads during class on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

Thirteen Valley students, a mixture between on-site and online, are part of this year’s yearbook class. One of those students, junior Maddie Madison, is in her second year on staff and is the junior editor in chief.

“It’s definitely been more challenging this year, especially transitioning online and back to school, and being able to contact people and get photos of events,” Madison said. “A lot of things had been canceled or postponed, and that’s been difficult because that’s a huge part of yearbook.”

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Janell Mikels, Valley Yearbook advisor.

The staff has and continues to work hard to meet their goal of publishing a completed yearbook—and they’re nearly there. Friday, Jan. 15, is the final day to purchase a 2020-21 yearbook. So far, roughly 800 copies have been sold, which is slightly fewer than this time last year, Mikels said.

“When we were hitting our deadlines, I think we were closer to a thousand ordered, and then that last day we brought in more,” she said. “With COVID this year, people may have forgotten to do those things that they’d normally do. Especially this year, it’s a year to have a yearbook to capture what it was like through COVID. We’re really covering the things that COVID has impacted academics, athletics, and fine arts-wise.”

“You’re going to have more than you’ve ever had before in terms of you want to remember that. Those memories might get lost as you go along the way, and having a yearbook as a reference is a great resource.”

The staff themselves are proud of this year’s spreads, including a few extra Student Life sections.

“I’m really excited about two really current spreads,” Lamphere said. “We’re including an Equity spread and a Politics spread because of everything that’s happened this year in terms of social inequalities and the election.”

For Mikels and crew, it’s all worth it in the end.

“It’s great because I get to see students capture all of these moments and here I am helping them through it,” she said. “It’s all them, it’s all their work, and it’s what they do.”

Purchase Your 2020-2021 Valley Yearbook

The deadline for purchasing the 2020-21 yearbook is Sunday, Jan. 24. You MUST preorder your yearbook to guarantee you’ll have a book. For background: Valley yearbook sold out of its limited number of overruns last year.

To order your yearbook today, please visit tinyurl.com/OrderTigerTales OR use the code “3694” at www.yearbookordercenter.com. The cost is $60.