Carlmont yearbook adapts to working under distance learning


Andrew Shu

The yearbook is designed online, but this year it also involves online communication.

The completion of the 2019-2020 Carlmont yearbook was steadily approaching this past March. When the superintendent announced that school was to take place online starting earlier this year, the Carlmont yearbook staff encountered significant obstacles.

The students taking the yearbook class have resumed the 2020–2021 book production, but some still struggle with one of the most fundamental aspects of its creation, gathering sources.  Because studies have not taken place in person since March, the staff has also had to communicate and complete tasks exclusively online. Although the entirety of staff and students is accessible via email, one might assume that gathering content for the book is no struggle. Surprisingly, this is not the case, according to yearbook photographer Owen Finigan.

“Usually, we could go to people’s classes and interview them quickly with a photo,” Finigan said. “Now, we need to contact people outside of school. It’s not as easy because a lot of people don’t read their email, give short responses, and send in photos with bad quality.”

Now that distance learning has been occurring for a few months, the yearbook staff finds it more manageable to collect content from the Carlmont community as people accommodate themselves to spending most of their time at home on a computer.

It was a different story at the start of distance learning, as yearbook Editor-in-Chief Lauren Chong recalls. 

“They slowly started canceling sports games, meets, and practices. Then they canceled major events like Prom, so everybody working on the yearbook freaked out a little bit,” Chong said. “Once we transitioned to online, we didn’t really know what to do with our huge final deadline – we had to submit fifty to sixty pages at the end of the year.”

Nevertheless, the yearbook staff succeeded in completing the latest yearbook through teamwork and collaboration, Chong confirmed. The students’ willingness to switch assignments and roles were what enabled them to get everything done.

The yearbook has since been including features centered around social distancing and students’ lives at home. However, the primary intention of the editors and staff has remained the same. 

“We still really want to create a book that invokes a strong feeling of nostalgia,” Chong said. “Small things are going on in our daily lives that people are focusing on, like what you baked during quarantine. And it sounds silly, but at the same time, it reminds us that we’re also experiencing this pandemic from a more personal perspective rather than on a global scale.”