Yearbook extends 2020-2021 staff application deadline to April 19 because of COVID-19-related school closure

Though+the+yearbook+has+used+social+media+to+promote+its+staff+application+for+the+next+school+year+in+the+past%2C+the+Sunny+Hills+Helios+adviser+has+had+to+rely+solely+on+Instagram+posting+like+this+because+of+COVID-19+pandemic-related+school+closure+since+March+16.+The+deadline+to+apply+has+also+been+extended+from+March+30+to+April+19.+Image+posted+with+permission+from+Anika+Madan.

Though the yearbook has used social media to promote its staff application for the next school year in the past, the Sunny Hills Helios adviser has had to rely solely on Instagram posting like this because of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closure since March 16. The deadline to apply has also been extended from March 30 to April 19. Image posted with permission from Anika Madan.

Minjeong Kim

Because of the district-imposed school closure nearly a month ago, the yearbook adviser will continue to accept 2020-2021 staff applications, extending the due date to April 19 instead of the original March 30 one.

“Along with developing journalism, technology and business skills, yearbook students learn the important life skills of communication, collaboration and time management,” Helios adviser Lindsay Safe said of the value of joining the yearbook staff.

Safe said students interested in applying can access the application by filling out a Google Form via this link: https://sites.google.com/fjuhsd.org/heliosyearbook.

Since Fullerton Joint Union High School District superintendent Scott Scambray announced Sunny Hills’ school closure March 13, later extending distance learning for students through the rest of the school year, Safe and her yearbook staff have been unable to promote on campus the opportunity for students to join Helios.

Instead of posting flyers around the school hallways or having staff application announcements broadcast during Period 2 announcements, Helios has had to rely on staff members’ social media posts.

Using the yearbook’s Instagram account, “shhshelios,” staff members have encouraged students to apply to be part of the 2020-2021 Helios team.

“Joining our award-winning yearbook program will help improve writing and communication skills, help gain more experience in design and photography, improve your chances of getting into college and let you leave a lasting legacy at Sunny Hills,” wrote junior Anika Madan, the clubs, faculty and organization editor, in her Instagram story posted on March 26.

This school year, two national journalism programs have recognized the 2018-2019 yearbook: the Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded Helios a Gold Crown March 20 during its online video presentation, while the National Scholastic Press Association tagged the annual with a Pacemaker finalist nod; the staff and Safe will find out April 17 during an online awards presentation whether it has won a Pacemaker award.

Safe said she is confident that promoting yearbook applications via social media will just be as equally effective in her recruitment efforts as in years past despite school closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“I’m not worried,” she said. “We’ll continue doing what we do and remain excited and positive.”

According to the Google Form application, yearbook is looking for students interested in photography, writing or design, and no previous experience is required.

Besides providing their school email address, name and graduation year, applicants must also “submit approximately two or four paragraphs on why you think you would make a good addition to the yearbook staff,” which will be used to assess students’ writing ability as well as their suitability for the staff.

Although previous experience is not required, one of the Google Form questions does ask if applicants have previous experiences in yearbook-related areas such as photography.

In the past, Safe said she required students to obtain a teacher recommendation as part of the application process, but she got rid of that this semester because students may have issues reaching out to their instructors because of the campus’ distance learning situation, and it would be inconvenient for everyone altogether.

Anyone who has additional questions about the application process can contact Safe at [email protected] or go to the “shhshelios” Instagram link. Safe said she also plans to host an Instagram live meeting on Monday, April 13 at 3 p.m. The informational meeting will notify the students of what the yearbook does and the benefits of joining. Safe will also be available to answer any other application- or yearbook-related questions students might have.