Coronavirus doesn’t stop Horseshoe staff

School yearbook completed by March 23 deadline


Courtesy of Horseshoe Yearbook staff

Against the odds, the “Building 2020” Horseshoe yearbook was completed March 23. Meeting this deadline ensured shipment of the book before the end of the school year.

Jocelyn Fetter

March 12, 2020, marked the last in school class day students and staff attended before the coronavirus struck Blair County. As families and businesses tried to adapt to their “two-week break,” the Horseshoe yearbook staff worked day and night to meet their March 23 deadline and ensure all students who ordered a yearbook would not be disappointed.

“I knew that we hadn’t worked all year to just not finish the book given the circumstances. My greatest motivator is always spite. When people tell me I can’t do something, I’ll do it ten times better. Peers asking if we can finish the book motivated me to get it done,” Editor in Chief Gabby Genua said. “My team of editors is truly a force to be reckoned with. We can pull ourselves together in the snap of some fingers. We were in almost constant contact with the book. We quickly devised a plan to divide and conquer what was left of the book.”

The four editors and their adviser met together on a few occasions through the website Zoom. The team discussed the remaining pages and devised a plan to get the book completed.

“I had never used any type of virtual meeting platform, but we figured it out together.  The first meeting was a little rough, but after learning how to share the screen, our work was much more productive,” adviser Wanda Vanish said.

“Quarantine gave me more time to focus on my individual progress and what I needed to get done instead of keeping track of everyone else for a little while.  Each of us took on a lot of the slack whenever it came up. Nothing was ever completed by itself, someone had to do it, and we were all willing to take the challenge head-on. Our communication and willingness to help each other was a big strength to us,” Photography Editor Madison Kuhns said.

The team took any spare time they had and focused it on finishing the book they had been working on all year.

“Our deadline didn’t change because of the school being closed and everything going on around it. The book was something we spent an entire school year crafting until it was perfect to us, and we knew that we couldn’t let all of the after school work sessions and group chat texts mean nothing. When it came down to the nitty-gritty, we kept our eyes on the prize, and we finished the year out with a bang. We took all the plans we had made from inside the school, ripped them up and improved and make a new one to get this book finished and chef kissed with love. It’s a really heartfelt moment to us, and we’re hoping the seniors take the yearbook home with a little extra love this year. It’s a hard time right now for a lot of people, but although seniors are missing out on some exciting things, we pulled through and made them a yearbook that is truly amazing and can be looked back on for years and years to come,” Design Editor Jocelyn Fetter said.

The team worked all year long through any and every set back including no snow days, construction and now an extended corona vacation break.

“One of the spreads that was left blank was the spring play spread.  The editors surprised me and had pictures from a production the advanced drama class had done at the junior high.  Another page had been reserved for the career day Mrs. Quinn organizes, and we decided to put together a page on the first two weeks away from school after the coronavirus break was declared,” Vanish said.

The book theme seemed appropriate even as the students worked to completion.

“The theme building 20/20 vision sets this book apart from any other yearbook I have seen in many ways. The building 20/20 vision theme was something that the staff wanted to showcase from the big year 2020 while also including the construction aspect of our new school that has affected students throughout the year,” Content Editor Mckenzie Quirin said.

Plenty of excitement is demonstrated throughout the team as they count down the days to distribution.

“The subtle puns that relate to the current times is what makes our book so personal. There’s some modern jargon thrown in on almost every page to make it unique to this era. Also the COVID-19 page, it’s hilarious. We wanted to take a positive spin on the gruesome subject,” Genua said.

The team hopes the rest of the school shares the same excitement.

“The editor group has worked on and off the clock day in and day out to make sure that every page in this book is perfect and that it gives students memories that they can keep forever. I am thankful I had a great group of classmates and friends who shared the same passion for this book even when times got tough. I am most excited that students will be able to notice how hard the staff and  especially the editors put into the creation of this book, and the way we chose to represent as many students as we possibly could,” Quirin said.

An entire class of high schoolers, each with his or her own personality to bring to the table, collectively created a book.

“Fifteen students joined the yearbook team this year, and each and every one of them has put their personal touch on this book.  We are hoping the stay home order is not extended through May and that we will be able to hand out this book and celebrate together as a team and a building,”  Vanish said.

Though it may be hard to put into words, the team has many emotions and gratitude.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a book. I was so nervous starting off this year because it was something I have never done before, but it quickly became a passion of mine. Finishing this book is one of the greatest senses of satisfaction I have ever felt, and I am so proud of the editors, and the class and so proud to call myself a part of this team. Everyone has been so helpful to us all school year long, the teachers have all been so supportive and the principals have given us so much love and support throughout this process, even if it was just us popping into the office to get a cheesy photo or ask a quick question. This book is something that is more than just pages to us; it was our chance to document every sentimental moment we could, and there will forever be generations of people to look back and reminisce. This is our moment to show the school what all of the yearbook kids do and why we run around with cameras around our neck and track them down in the hallways for quotes,” Fetter said.