Behemoth Staff Tosses Traditions In Favor Of New Expectations

Seniors Stress Over Impending Changes

Morrison Jones-Thiede, Reporter/Page Editor

Lots of controversy is starting to spark due to some changes to time-honored traditions in this year’s yearbook. Many seniors are starting to protest and talk of opting out of being in the 2019-2020 Skyline yearbook, but why? 

Editor-in-Chief Aliana Montez (12) and Adviser Whitney Egbert have a new vision for the yearbook this year, and good reasons why they made the policy changes, some being that senior pictures are being taken in uniform formal attire, and senior quotes have been scrapped. 

Montez explained, “We aren’t doing senior quotes, we are now doing senior spotlights. So basically we get a picture of them (the seniors), a specific picture with lots of color in the picture, and ask seniors a question and write about the answer they give. We actually made a survey at the beginning of the year that all seniors filled out, and based on their answer, we know where to feature them in the yearbook. It allows for every senior to be featured, and we feel that it’s more meaningful than say an Office quote or a Cardi B quote, and it holds less liabilities if we were to do quotes that we really want to avoid.” 

Nationwide, lawsuits over copyrighted quotes have cost various publication staffs thousands of dollars, and inappropriate quotes that somehow slip past the vetting process have resulted in schools having to recollect and trash their entire publication, which can cost up to $65,000.  

Egbert is excited about the overall design. “We are going to have a new cover. The setup of the book is going to be different, it’s going to be more interactive and lively. Then there’s the senior pictures, which have been a bit of an issue. Seniors have been protesting coming to get their pictures taken. We just want to add some class and timelessness to our seniors and yearbook by doing more of a formal sitting with a tux or a nice velvet drape, instead of just using their school ID pictures. We want students to be able to look back in the future and look at the pictures of them at their best and give them a beautiful yearbook to look back on. We are going to be focusing on student involvement and trends, it’s going to look and be different, but still be an overall beautiful yearbook.” 

When I interviewed some seniors about the new policy changes, all of them had something to say about it, but when I asked them “why do you think they would change that?” none of them were able to come up with a good answer.

Quincy Mares (12) “I don’t know why they would change it. I don’t understand the quotes change. I was looking forward to the senior quotes. I had so many ideas for so long that I wanted to do, and now we’re not doing them.” After I explained to Mares about the shift from quotes to spotlights and about the liability issues, she had a quick and good idea that she responded with, “I understand the legal things, but let us know ‘Hey, you can’t do anything copyrighted,’ and put more regulations rather than getting rid of them. It’s like now three years of ideas for quotes are kind of wasted.” 

Kade Nef (12) was one of the seniors who participated in the senior protest. “I wasn’t pleased about it. I even told my mom to get a refund for the yearbook because I wasn’t even going to be in it this year, but she talked with me about it and I get now that it’s more than just pictures, it’s memories of like my teams and friends and pictures, so I’m still on the fence about it. I remember looking back on the older yearbooks and seeing people not pictured and going ‘I don’t want to be that person’ and now I kind of am. And with the quotes, it’s kind of sad that we can’t be mature enough to come up with good senior quotes and find it to be hard. I don’t think it would be that hard. Or to have someone just go through them all and make sure they’re okay.”

Not everyone thought it was all bad though, and some didn’t even knew about the protest or changes. Emma Baczuk (12) said, “Wait, so senior’s just aren’t going to be in it? I knew about the new senior picture thing, I like it, it’s more of a cool, vintage style. And I really like the quotes and thought they were fun, but I think the spotlights will be cool.” 

No matter the opinion of the seniors I interviewed, they all said the same thing: They were looking forward to the cool new yearbook this year and are probably going to get one regardless. And rumor has it, the newspaper staff is going to create some type of Senior Magazine for their final issue, and they may pick up the senior quotes as part of their final legacy, but only time will tell so keep an eye out.