DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) – The COVID-19 pandemic is something most people would like to forget as soon as possible.
But forgetting it might just erase some of the lasting memories of a lifetime, like senior year in high school.
For the yearbook staff at Olentangy Berlin, this is a challenge like no other before.
School days in 2021.
“It’s crazy!,” one student working digitally on the school’s 2021 yearbook said. “It’s memorable, though.”
“A Tale of Two Cities” is still relevant today.
“It was the best of times, the worst of times,” said Erin Bush, a journalism teacher at Olentangy Berlin. “There have been challenges, but I think there are things we’re going to look back on so fondly.”
Not unlike Bush’s time with NBC4’s Brad Johansen in 1993, when she watched him on television in Cincinnati and thought she knew what she wanted to do.
“I believe I wrote a letter asking if you would be willing to take on a mentor, after much encouragement from my journalism teacher,” Bush told Johansen.
Her circuitous route guided her out of the spotlight and into the classroom.
“The classes are smaller, but when the kids are here, they want to be here so badly,” Bush said.
“We really had to train the staff on people, like, celebrating because I don’t want this to be so sad if 2020 is so terrible,” says Kayla Niklaus, the senior editor of Berlin’s yearbook. “I want people to look back on, like, ‘Oh, that was a really great year!”
Challenge accepted and embraced.
“Instead of Courtney looking thru 100 pictures, she can tag him,” junior Rileigh Glassburn said, working with new software to help assemble the yearbook.
With one week in school, the next week at home.
“So we feature people’s faces because we never get to see each other without masks,” said senior Eli Gamble.
Gamble is the design editor for The Bulletin, a monthly magazine producing more than pretty pages. It’s producing a passion!
“Honestly, I can’t see myself doing anything else,” smiled senior Ellie First. “So I’ll for sure being going into journalism.”
A New Year’s resolution to create a keepsake during a pandemic that isn’t about sad people wearing masks.
“A lot of mental health work, which is good and I think a good resolution to have,” said senior Mary Koeppen.
“Looking back, I just think we’ll see that quality time because life had slowed down,” Bush realized. “And hopefully, we’ll see it as the opportunity it was instead versus all the problems that we had.”