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“Cover what’s happening, not what’s been canceled”: traditional yearbook captures untraditional year

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 12:12 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Another year is in the books. High school is coming to end for thousands of Southern Arizona students after a challenging year. Sporting events and dances were canceled and classes were held online, but instead of focusing on what didn’t happen, the Catalina Foothills High School (CFHS) yearbook team is celebrating what did.

“If it’s not in the yearbook, it didn’t happen,” said Kim Gassman, a graphic design teacher.

Staff and students were determined not to let the pandemic erase the past.

“Everybody asked us, ‘Well, is there even going to be a yearbook? What on earth can you cover?’” said Gassman. “Well guess what? We showed them how it was done!”

This year’s theme, “We’ll Show You How It’s Done,” is a nod to the CFHS students who got through difficult circumstances with strength, grace and style.

“We didn’t want to complain, I think we were over complaining,” said Aleksandra Grodzki, a senior. “We just wanted to have what we had.”

So, how do you put a yearbook together with so few events and half the student body learning from home? Grodzki says it wasn’t easy.

“I would always email a coach and be like, ‘I will wear my mask, I will keep my distance from your players and I’ll just be there, you won’t see me,’” she said.

Even with the yearbook team stretching one football game into an entire spread, the sports section is a bit smaller than years past. It’s why they beefed up the student life section, making sure to highlight remote students as well.

“Cover what’s happening, not what’s been canceled,” said Shireen Behzadi, an English teacher. “There’s 352 pages of what’s been happening.”

Which makes it one of the largest - if not the largest - yearbook in the Tucson area. Grodzki says it feels like students reclaimed their story.

“[This] was the story and COVID is a just sentence,” she said.

“Since it was such a different year from all the past ones, looking back and being able to point to specific moments from the school year, it’s really special that we were part of that,” said Eliana Siegel, another senior.

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