Yearbook class changes from sixth to fifth period to accommodate schedule conflicts


Image used with permission from Anika Madan.

Helios editor-in-chief senior Anika Madan (first row, second video window from left) captures a historic moment — the first virtual yearbook camp sponsored by Herff Jones on July 25, the camp’s first day. Traditionally held at California State University, Long Beach, the July 25-29 Yearbooks by the Beach offers publications students sessions ranging from staff bonding to theme brainstorming. A total of 23 of the 33 Helios yearbook staffers attended the event to prepare for the 2020-2021 annual’s production, which now will take place during fifth instead of sixth period.

Alice Shin, Managing Editor

After three years of the award-winning Helios yearbook class being held during period six, it has switched back to fifth period this school year, joining other electives like the Associated Student Body and The Accolade newspaper staff.

“Before, since the yearbook was at the end of the day, it was convenient to transition to late nights [to produce the annual],” Helios co-editor-in-chief senior Anika Madan said. “However, it wasn’t good because we needed a lot of athlete interviews but couldn’t cover as many people, which is ultimately one of the goals of a yearbook.”

In addition, Helios adviser Lindsay Safe said she requested school officials last semester to make the switch back to fifth period to also accommodate athletes who want to join the yearbook staff.

Of the 33 Helios staffers for the 2020-2021 school year, the publications program accepted six applicants who are also athletes; without moving the class back to fifth period, it would have been much more difficult for them to make room on their schedule to be in the class, Safe said.

“It’s a benefit for our athletes and future athletes who want to be on staff, [but] I will miss ending my day with my Helios kids,” Safe said.

Staff member junior Zachary Tan was among the athletes who benefited from the class’ move to fifth period. 

The athlete said he had learned of Safe’s plan in the middle of the spring semester from his friend, photo editor junior Yeonji Baek, one of the yearbook staffers.

Helios never came into my mind before, but once I decided I wanted to join, I couldn’t [because] Helios was period six, and the sports I played didn’t allow it,” said Tan, who plays for boys volleyball and boys basketball teams. “I was glad to hear that the class was changed to period five.”

Because Helios was held during period six when team lead senior Ruth Hong joined the staff a year ago, Hong said she had to quit girls basketball. She’s glad that new and future staffers won’t have to decide one activity over the other in the future.

“Thinking that I was going to experience something new was exciting, so I joined Helios,” she said. “There are still some athletes in Helios, which I didn’t know was possible, but I’m glad I stuck with one elective because yearbook is very time consuming.”

Meanwhile, even though several traditional campus events and sports games have been either canceled or postponed because of the current distance learning model, Safe and Madan said yearbook production will be held one night a week, though no specific starting point has been set, and no specific day of the week has been set, either.

“Currently Helios is teaching staffers the basic elements of yearbook such as photography, copy and next week, design,” Madan said. “Editors are in breakout rooms and working on our ladder (coverage plan) and cover and promotional stuff.”

The unprecedented school year in which students continued with distance learning has also led to Madan and her team coming up with innovative ways to create the yearbook.

“One major change in our coverage is that we’ll be utilizing crowdsourcing more, which involves obtaining information from people through things such as polls or surveys,” the editor-in-chief said. “[The photographers’] main job will be crowdsourcing photos, and if they’re on a sports team, [they can] go to practices to take pictures.”