Virtually Viral: The Inside Scoop on the Creation of the 2021 Yearbook


The Liberty yearbook staff has worked insanely hard this year and it has paid off. Together, they have managed to get the yearbook done while having almost all of the first half of the year be virtual, and also having 80% of the yearbook students being virtual as well!  They even finished everything on time, and according to Ms. Miller, everything came together.

One of the major struggles the yearbook staff has experienced is that it was very difficult getting interview quotes from the LHS community. Since nobody was able to go around conducting interviews in person this year, things got a little tricky. There were many different reasons as to why it was difficult to get interview quotes, from not knowing if someone is virtual or not, to not knowing who said a quote, and people just not responding back.

“There were a few struggles I had this year. Firstly, one of my struggles was getting a hold of people because you couldn’t really go around the school talking to people. The last resort I had was social media and not many people would answer my messages. I honestly would probably still have this struggle if Covid-19 hadn’t happened because in general, I am a very introverted person when it comes to talking to new people,” said sophomore Summer Plaugher. 

“Quotes and pictures are harder to get this year because it’s hard to get a hold of people and figure out if they’re virtual or hybrid,” said sophomore Melanie Ventura.

“A struggle I have had was conducting interviews because it was very confusing due to students being on different schedules and days,” said freshman Asya Thomas.

Another major struggle was the yearbook staff has had to make some necessary changes due to Covid-19, such as using photoshopped team pictures since everyone had to stay socially distanced. Despite all the negatives, there were also some positives, such as giving the seniors bigger photos this year!

“To be honest, the struggles for the yearbook that we, the staff, face today are way more complicated than they used to be. The plus side was for sports. We kept it simple and focused on what was available to us; we didn’t have to fill up a whole page,” said senior Princesa Rodriguez.

“There were a bunch of necessary changes. One big change was the sports team pictures. Since no one could get near each other, they photoshopped all of the team members into one sports picture. Another big change was how we collected the information for the yearbook. We mostly had to use social media and emails. Lastly, a big change was the senior pictures. This year instead of having all the seniors spread throughout just a few pages, each spread only had six seniors on it and they also got quotes this year,” said Plaugher. 

Due to half of the students being virtual and half being in school for a little while, yearbook and journalism teacher Ms. Miller had to create a new way for students to collaborate together and ultimately, it turned out okay.

“When I first realized that a lot of my yearbook students would be virtual this year, actually 80% of them, I really struggled with figuring out how to make things work! I came up with a plan that required Yearbook 1 students and non-editors to conduct interviews and collect pictures each week on our “topic of the week.” So, for example, we did a two-page spread on finding positivity while living through a pandemic. Each student had to develop some interview questions on this topic, conduct interviews with a variety of students, collect relevant pictures from those students, and post it all on a discussion board devoted to that topic. Editors would then design and create the pages based on the data provided in the weekly discussion boards. I realize this sounds like total chaos, but it really worked! We were so organized, and we had an awesome variety of quotes and pictures to choose from. We ended up finishing the whole book on time using this system. I may actually keep this system because it really improved our interviewing skills and it allowed editors to really focus on design and content,” said Ms. Miller.

Just like most of the student body here at Liberty, most of the yearbook staff is missing how things were last year. Mostly, they miss being able to come to class, have fun with their classmates, and just have fun together while making the yearbook.

“This year during class was very different compared to how it was last year. Last year, we used to all talk about what we were going to work on, and now we can’t all do that since some people are doing school virtually. I always loved meeting new people. I miss laughing with everyone from the yearbook staff and just having a good time,” said Ventura. 

“We can’t go see everyone on the team because some people are doing school virtually. I miss going to different classes and finding people to get information from them,” said Rodriguez.

There were many students who had different expectations coming into this year. Just like most of the student body, nobody had any clue what to expect. However, for the yearbook staff, it was very different because they weren’t sure how they would actually be able to make the yearbook during this crazy year. Despite the difficulties, it did all work out in the end!

“When I first joined, in all honesty, I was completely unsure how things would go. At first, I expected it to be different but I quickly learned it’s nothing to fear. Although, I did struggle with socializing when it came to interviews. Lastly, I think the class would have been much different if Covid-19 didn’t happen; I feel like we would be doing more interactive things,” said sophomore Maddie Spicer.

For some students, the yearbook class was a safe place for them. This is where they came to reach outside of their comfort zones and be able to socialize with other people. Sadly, due to Covid-19, they weren’t able to do so this year.

“Last year, I was forced to get out of my comfort zone which is why I took this class. It really helped me communicate more and helped me with my social anxiety. Covid-19 really changed how I have talked to people. Since Covid-19 hit, I have been stuck in my house, not talking to anyone, and it really made my social anxiety worse from not communicating with people for almost a year, ” said Plaugher.

Regardless of the challenges due to the pandemic, the staff worked diligently to produce a yearbook that students will love and can look back to the memories of this crazy year.

I think our book turned out well. It is, however, not the same book as every other year. We kept things real with our coverage. We were limited on some sports pictures and all of the clubs’ pictures. We worked around this as best we could. We tried to expand the senior coverage by making their beautiful portraits larger and giving them the opportunity to include senior quotes. Hopefully, everyone will love the yearbook this year and will realize why it is a bit different,” said Ms. Miller.

Lastly, a special kudos to Ms. Miller. She had to come up with a way to design and create the entire yearbook this year, all while having to follow Covid-19 guidelines, and still made sure it met journalistic standards. Not to mention, she also had to run this website with all of her journalism students, so props Ms. Miller! Also, congratulations to the entire yearbook staff for being able to complete the yearbook this year in a new, safe, and virtual way!