The topic of senior quotes has been an area of discussion for several months following the senior quote issues from the past two years of graduating classes. The yearbook staff received backlash from upset students and yearbook advisor Jessica Stamp because of several inappropriate and offensive senior quotes that were submitted to the staff and slipped through the screening process. Because of that mishap as well as issues with submission deadlines and the screening process for quotes, Stamp decided that senior would not be given the option of submitting quotes for the yearbook in the future.
“Largely it’s due to the lengthy screening process,” Stamp explained. “On top of that you can’t ensure that everyone’s going to be pleased with the outcome in the end whether it’s things getting through or mistakes being made in the quote.”
Senior Mckayla Cothern was one of the several students who was upset when she found out about the quote cancellation in early October of last semester when she was talking with Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook Alexis Burch.
“I was so disappointed! My friends and I have all looked forward to finally getting our senior quote ever since sophomore year,” Cothern said. “It was especially frustrating when I found out that senior quotes were cancelled because of a few individual students who submitted wildly inappropriate quotes.”
The quotes themselves were a fairly new addition to the school’s yearbook, as they have only been included in the past two publications after being brought in by Stamp.
“We had done them the past two years and had lots of issues both years with various things, mostly including the time consuming element of having to research every single quote and make sure that it’s appropriate, it’s accurate,” Stamp said. “Also contacting all the kids to make sure that they get a quote in there, that they know about it, [and] if one if them doesn’t pass the screening process contacting all those kids again trying to get another quote.”
After two years of thinking of the perfect quote to close her high school experience, Cothern was upset that the popular American tradition was being cancelled due to the aforementioned issues.
“The quotes seem like such a small thing, but they’re a fun part of high school culture,” she explained. “I think senior quotes add personality to the yearbook, individuality to each senior, and a sense of closure for their last year of high school.”
Not one to sit by and not take action, Cothern quickly started looking for people that she could talk with to bring back the quotes.
“I first went to Valari Graham and Alexis Burch to ask them for advice about how I could try finding a way to get senior quotes back,” she said. “They suggested I talk to Ms. Stamp, the yearbook teacher, who explained to me why the yearbook was no longer printing senior quotes. She said that if I wanted to put together an individual booklet of senior quotes that kids could insert in the back of the yearbook, I should talk to Mr. Burns.”
After several conversations and emails with both Ms. Stamp and Mr. Burns, Cothern was getting close to finding a solution that would work for the students who were advocating for the return of the quotes.
“[We decided] that the best option would be to print an individual insert that will pretty much look the same as the senior portraits section in the yearbook, just with the quotes added underneath and maybe a few other personal touches,” Cothern explains. “In order to make the insert possible, I proposed to make a small committee of students who would collect and review seniors’ quotes, tossing any inappropriate submissions. It’s possible to have funny, clever quotes without violating the regulations.”
Now the graduating class of 2019 will be submitting senior quotes that will be reviewed and published by Cothern in a separate insert. Cothern and a select few students formed a student reviewing committee and will be checking them all for quality clean content before they go into the individual insert. The deadline to submit senior quotes is Monday March 22, and if students don’t submit their own quote, the reviewing team will submit a replacement quote for them.
“There’s still lots of work to be done in collecting quotes and putting the insert together, but I’m really excited to be a part of it,” Cothern said. “If you’re a graduating senior, submit your quote using the QR code or link!”