Op Ed: Why Yearbook is Changing Senior Quotes


Laura Scudder, Bleu Print Editor

Words are important. They shape the way we think, act, feel. Words allow people to express themselves and truly showcase who they are. The first amendment — the protection that allows us to say the things in which we believe — set in place here in the United States is arguably the most significant freedom we have, for without it nothing could ever change and humans would simply be suppressed. The Chelsea High School yearbook is one entity within our community of high school students that allows for people our age to share our voice with one another and generations to come. The yearbook is a true representation of our lives, both inside and outside of school; showcasing different clubs and sports, classes, and students in general, the yearbook works as something that embodies and encapsulates who we are at CHS in that particular year.

These days at Chelsea High School, some feel as if the undeniable rights set forth in the first amendment are being taken away from them. Seniors here at Chelsea are upset with a certain change being made to the yearbook — the change of senior quotes. For the past two years, beginning with the class of 2016, the Chelsea High School yearbook has started up senior quotes, something that had not been a part of the book beforehand. With a new advisor and a new, fresh take on the yearbook as a whole, the 2017-2018 yearbook editors, junior Bennett Proegler and seniors Morgan Barber and myself have decided that senior quotes will no longer be placed under the photographs of individual seniors like in years past, but would perhaps be in some sort of senior magazine created by The Bleu Print. Instead, each senior would have his or her future plans listed right underneath his or her name.

The changes made by us editors has some members of the senior class riled up, claiming that this action takes away a student’s right to have a voice. Now, as an editor of the yearbook, I of course have an opinion and facts to back up my side — along with a particular bias, of course — but that does not mean I disregard the thoughts that other people have. It never was or is our intention to censor any student at CHS; in fact, quite the opposite is true. I appreciate that people care enough about an issue to share their thoughts — though most have done so in a rude way — and the fact that words matter this much to people is beautiful to me, but this senior quote, this one sentence, does not define someone as an individual. Believe me, I care about words and language and the craft more than some members of the student body, but I am aware that this one sentence is not the end-all-be-all of one’s senior year. If the words you were going to use in your senior quote are that significant, write the words all over the place in journals, get it engraved on an object, tattoo it so it is permanently a part of you forever, or simply keep it in your heart to have to steady yourself.

“The fact that words matter this much to people is beautiful to me, but this senior quote, this one sentence, does not define someone as an individual.””

Not only are the editors not censoring the seniors at Chelsea, but we are not attempting to embarrass or affect anyone in a negative way. Some have brought up the notion that if we move the future plans — something that will be in the yearbook no matter what — under the names of each senior, certain people may get made fun of for what their plans are. The future plans are in the book as a way to celebrate seniors for continuing on ahead in life, and no one should ever feel ashamed of what they are going to do come next fall; everyone is different, and certain colleges and experiences will be a better fit for some than others. Anyone who would mock another for the university he or she is attending or the gap year one goes on is not the type of person we should have in our high school community. Frankly, it also seems more likely that a senior quote would become made fun of rather than future plans. The movement of future plans would not only allow any yearbook owner to match the face of a senior with the college he or she is attending — rather than just seeing a list of names under a school, like in years past — but it would also allow the yearbook staff to work with an extra two spreads, meaning four whole pages, of the yearbook. With these two spreads, comes the opportunity for more students to be covered. There are already so many spreads dedicated to the seniors, ones such as “Remember When,” the class panoramic and senior ads, and moving the future plans to a different area will certainly not take anything away from the class of 2018. It simply allows for other students, ones who may not necessarily participate in sports or clubs like some, to have a chance to shine in the yearbook. Whether we highlight a certain class offered at CHS or do a spotlight on an individual, we have the opportunity to share out with the whole school about what makes that class or person unique; in doing so, we are not taking away from the senior class, but simply giving coverage to others.

Although the opinion of students of Chelsea High School is important to us yearbook staff members, there are certain changes we make to improve the book and expand coverage as a whole. As an editor, I would never want my fellow peers to feel that our yearbook takes away the rights of students; the yearbook really is meant for people to be represented, and the change made to senior quotes would gather more coverage for various students. Our future plans for the yearbook would allow for the 2017-2018 year to be embodied as accurately and eloquently as possible, so long as our fellow peers let us make it happen.