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‘Reflections’ Yearbook Captures Unforgettable Year

photo of yearbook staff

JUNE 17, 2021 — The challenge was daunting if not seemingly impossible a year ago: Build a yearbook of memories during a time most want to forget due to COVID-19. 

And, by the way, do it remotely without many of the traditional activities that go in the Midlakes High School “Reflections” yearbook. The staff was left scrambling to fill blank pages as schools adjusted to new health and safety protocols. 

Last summer, they didn’t even know if they’d be able to attend school in-person, play sports or participate in many of the clubs.

Advisor Angela Simmons said it created the most challenging year for the yearbook staff since she started working on the publication eight years ago.

“For me, these kids lost out on a lot and it was important for them to get something back,” Simmons said. “It made it really important to produce something that would bring a smile to their face.” 

The yearbook staff began brainstorming ways to add new sections and features. They added a re-create a baby picture for seniors and included photos of students with their pets. 

Pages reserved for the 2020 school musical “Elf” became a spread about “Elf on the Shelf.” Individual photos and writeups of 2020 spring athletes were published instead of the typical summary pages on their seasons.

“There are about 10 of us in Yearbook Club and there are about 600 students and staff in the school, and we represent all of them,” said senior Lyndsey Wright, who serves as both president and treasurer of the club. “It was pretty powerful and a big responsibility trying to represent this year and all that we went through.”

The staff also included Letty Karlsen, Grace Payne, Elaina Harris-Maxwell, Sky Liu, Caroline Day, Kelsie Klee, Isaiah Delgado, and Nita Schumacher. Brie Stratton served as an assistant advisor.

“They pick everything,” Simmons said of the student staff. “They pick the theme, they design the cover, they come up with the categories for senior superlatives and faculty superlatives. It’s all them.”

The staff spun off the name of the Midlakes Reflections yearbook around the “reflections” theme and included a face mask on the cover and on each of its 128 pages.

“(My favorite part) was designing a page for a sport that I enjoy playing,” said Payne, a junior who found joy in combining her passions for tennis and photography.

Karlsen, a senior, said helping to be a part of something historical served as an inspiration for club members.

“That definitely was a big influence,” said senior Letty Karlsen, who designed the lacrosse and sibling pages. “Especially at the beginning of the year with the uncertainty around athletics and other clubs. We didn’t know what was going to be happening.”

So, they figured things out as they went along. Whether it was getting classmates to email them photos or coaches and club advisors to submit write-ups, they got it done. 

And when it came to working with Jostens to create the cover they wanted, club members sharpened their focus.

“Every millimeter,” Wright said. “We told them what we wanted.” 

And they got it.

“It was pretty rewarding,” said Harris-Maxwell, a junior who took photos, designed pages, and is the incoming treasurer for the 2022 yearbook club. “Especially being able to contribute to the last yearbook that I am going to be a part of. I am proud of us as a group for pulling together and having this come out as well as it did."

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