Keeping Tradition Alive: How the Yearbook Published in the Midst of a Pandemic


Libby Jones

Cambridge yearbooks from the past three years. The cover for the 2020 yearbook will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Libby Jones, Managing Editor

With so many events and activities canceled due to the coronavirus, it can seem that everything that makes high school, high school has been put on hold.

However, at least one tradition is still well and alive.

The yearbook class, which spends the year collecting pictures and quotes for the yearbook and designing the layout of each page, is done with the book. Now, it’s ready to be printed when the Balfour plant reopens.

Yearbook teacher Laura Efford said in an email that the final publishing takes place in the third week of March. This year, she said, they set their deadline for March 24.

However, that deadline had to be revisited because of the coronavirus.

“I was notified on the evening [of] March 21st that the Balfour plant would be shutting down and that upon reopening the plant would publish books in the order they were finalized…which meant we needed to publish ASAP,” Efford said.

Efford and the yearbook’s editors decided to push the publication date up a few days to ensure that when the plant reopens and begins to print yearbooks, the school would be near the front of the line.

Yearbook editor-in-chief, senior Grace Williams, said in an email, “We were trying to finish as soon as possible so the book doesn’t come in over the summer.”

Efford said the editors dropped everything to finish up the editing and final pages and published March 22.

“We met again via Teams later that day around 6 PM, so that I could share my screen with them as I hit the final publish button and the onscreen fireworks went off,” Efford said.

Though the yearbook team was able to finish the book early, the switch to digital learning did present some challenges they had to work through in order to get it done.

“One of the bigger struggles of not being in a class with everybody in the same room was trying to figure out people’s names in a picture,” Williams said.

Williams said the fact that the tools they use were already online made the switch to digital learning easier for them, and the biggest change was learning how best to communicate with each other from afar.

Sophomore Amelia Duffner, who is on the yearbook staff, said finding information and getting help working on pages was more difficult at home.

“It’s a lot harder to get the information and help we need to do our pages when we’re not in school,” Duffner said.

Finding good pictures was also especially difficult this year, Efford said. They had to search many platforms for images to use for spring sports because even before classes went online, many of the games and matches were rained out.

“We had very few quality photos to work with,” Efford said. The yearbook staff had to directly contact coaches, athletes and parents to get the images they needed.

Efford said the way she helped the class work through these issues was by staying available and accessible to students. Their hard work paid off in a book completed and sent off to the publishers.

“I could not be more proud of my team for pulling it off,” Efford said.

Now that they’re done with the book, the team’s focus is now marketing.

“While we are at home there is not much we can do, but we will post on our Instagram to try and promote the book sales,” Williams said.

Online sales for the yearbook end May 15. Until then, students can search for Cambridge High School on to order one.