The R. H. King yearbook, also known as “The Bluff”, is being published for the 2020-21 year and it will be free for all students! The King Yearbook Council (KYB) has been working diligently to produce content that reflects the unique circumstances presented by a full school year during a pandemic. This involves many staff and students with connections to King – whether they have attended the TDSB virtual school, King virtual school, King in-person learning, or a combination of all of these options over the course of the first three quads.
Adina Khan is a grade eleven student at R.H. King and an executive member of Yearbook Council, “Like most other things in the pandemic, the council now communicates and meets all online. While I know everyone’s hearts and minds are dedicated to contributing even a little bit to the yearbook, the meetings probably feel a little intimidating or overwhelming – especially to the new members,” Adina explains.
Initially, KYB hoped to distribute physical copies of the yearbook near the end of May. However, this was a tentative goal and the release may be pushed back to the end of June or later depending on COVID restrictions and delays. Regardless, all students will receive a digital copy of the yearbook which is condensed in length compared to other years and is roughly 92 pages long.
Niva Kulendran is the principal of R. K. King Academy, “This year, remote teaching and learning became a focus of school budget expenditures. That meant that funds that would typically be spent on items like classroom furniture or textbooks replacement were reallocated. Coupled with the understanding that we wanted to impose minimal external stressors on our students (a relaxed uniform standard, no school fees), we chose to absorb the cost of the yearbook so that all of our students could still receive a yearbook to commemorate this very unique school year. . .” Ms. Kulendran says.
Fans of the yearbook can expect to see staple pages like “Siblings and Lookalikes” as well as “Most Likelys” and an expanded “Year in Review”. Councils have also been asked to find creative ways to promote their work and members from the year in place of the usual group photos.
Adina Khan has been a member of KYB since she was in grade nine, “The year’s definitely a lot different with the online meets and I miss being able to connect with the council in-person. I feel like I really took that stuff for granted from ninth to the beginning of tenth grade. At this time of the year though. . . everyone has the same responsibility of working on the pages and making sure the layout’s all touched up and perfected. All of this has always been done online though so it’s not that big of a change,” Adina continues.
The council has found innovative ways to acquire photos and content this year and has relied heavily on contributions from students, clubs, and councils. Under normal circumstances, KYB photographers can be seen around the school at all times of the year covering student life and events. Understandably, COVID restrictions have made it very difficult to take the types of candid photos which fill the pages of the yearbooks from previous years.
“The photographers’ responsibility of. . . taking the photos for the yearbook, was what drastically changed especially with a good chunk of them going online because of COVID. . . Since school this year has literally been an on-and-off situation, we’ve had to get in touch with the student body and get a little personal, sending emails and announcements and everything on social media to get the students to send in photos of themselves, their friends, what they’ve been up to this quarantine, etc.” Adina continues.
Needless to say, a yearbook can be a cherished item for students that commemorates their high school years. “Yearbooks are an important part of the high school experience. I think that this year’s yearbook will be very important in documenting a very different school experience. . . Masks, remote learning, cohorts and comfort breaks will be distant memories years from now (hopefully!), but a glance at the 2020-21 yearbook will remind us of how we were able to adjust and adapt to learning in the era of COVID-19,” Ms. Kulendran finishes.
Special thanks to Niyonta Zulfiquar, Adina Khan, and Ms. Kulendran for their input on this article.