Senior quotes cut from yearbook

This year, senior quotes have been cut, and according to a survey taken by 256 VHHS students, most students are upset by the decision. The choice was Dr. Guillaume’s after he consulted the assistant principals, activities director, yearbook staff and LHS principal Dr. Koulentes.

The decision was mostly in response to the events that occurred at Highland Park, where some seniors had quotes nearing anti-semitism get past the checking process, leading to the school halting yearbook distribution.

“I think now that another school has suffered through it, felt the pain of making that error, if we were to keep senior quotes and it happened to us, we would be under greater scrutiny,” Dr. Guillaume said.

Many students disagreed with Guillaume’s opinion on the decision. One such student was Senior Sophia Heiser.

Heiser was disappointed when she read about the decision, as she already had a quote picked out: “I would rather write ten-thousand notes than a single letter of the alphabet,” a reference to her love for music.

“I get it that people have that freedom of speech and some people take advantage of it, but most people use it to express themselves,” Heiser said. “They put in a quote there that would’ve expressed who they are or what they believe.”

It seems that many students agreed with Heiser, as in the survey, when asked how they felt about the decision, with 1 being very glad and 5 being very upset, 89 percent of the students chose 4 or 5.

Zander Schwartz (11) said senior quotes were important to him, but he’s okay with the decision, as he feels it came about as a logical conclusion.

“I feel like since there was all this delegation for a reason, and yes I’m disappointed, and because of how much time was put into [the decision], there was a reason for doing it, which I’m okay with,” Schwartz said.

The editor-in-chief of the yearbook, Irene Levering, said that as a senior, she feels differently about the decision than she does as a yearbook editor.

“As a senior I’m extremely disappointed… but as an editor, I understand that the reputation of the book is kind of on the line. And obviously the reputation of the school… we just can’t really risk that at this point,” Levering said.

Levering said that if they had to reprint all the yearbooks, it would cost around $30,000.

Dr. Guillaume also made the decision because it became hard for staff to distinguish what was appropriate to be put in the yearbook, and it took too much time.

“Last year, in the end, it was still too much grey. We still felt like ‘okay, I guess these are okay,’ but you don’t really know for sure,” Dr. Guillaume said.

Ms. McDonald, yearbook advisor, described the process of checking senior quotes.

Ms. McDonald said that a senior would submit a quote, then the yearbook staff would look at it, then Ms. McDonald had to look over every quote and investigate any that seemed inappropriate, then she would bring the quotes to adult staff members, and finally, to Dr. Guillaume to look at.

“It is arduous; it by far takes more time than any other part in the yearbook. There were many last year alone that did not make it into the book,” McDonald said.

Levering did say that the yearbook staff tried to think of ways to keep senior quotes in the yearbook, such as adding more questions to the Google form used to gather quotes.

“The consensus was, yes, we could put more safeguards in place, but there’s no way to guarantee that [a quote] wouldn’t get past us,” Ms. McDonald said.

Dr. Guillaume explained that it’s unlikely that the decision to drop senior quotes will be changed, but because of that, the yearbook staff have been thinking of what to do with the empty space.

According to the editor-in-chief and Ms. McDonald, the yearbook staff already has many ideas to expand the yearbook and maybe even fill the hole left by senior quotes.

“In the past, we’ve had like 22 pages devoted to senior portraits…and we had senior connections, senior superlatives, those sort of sections of the book,” Levering said. “We are looking to create additional senior spreads. So, we’ve had ideas of doing like — well, I don’t want to reveal the ideas just yet.”