Yearbook finds alternative ways to capture a socially distanced school year


Photo courtesy of Darragh Larkin

Volume 97 of the Burlingame High School yearbook, which may look a little different compared to the upcoming 2020-2021 yearbook.

Aidan Hay, Staff Reporter

With distance learning in place, many students are wondering what the yearbook is going to look like. Considering the limited school events and activities, it may look like the yearbook staff is cornered. However, with some alternatives and changes in the program, the yearbook hit the ground running at the start of the school year. Despite the impact distance learning has had on everyone at Burlingame, the team is determined to create a yearbook that matches the quality of Burlingame’s yearbooks in previous editions, while accurately capturing the year as a whole.


Niall Finnegan, an editor for this year’s yearbook, explained that last schoolyear’s transition to distance learning was rough for the staff.

“We had to switch over to a site called Monarch, and it was nearly impossible to work,” Finnegan said.

While the site is still giving the team some issues, they’re working to educate newer members, as well as work on meeting their deadlines. The committee is also prioritizing establishing a community within the class, considering the vast age range the class presents. They have had to make some adjustments to previous expectations, for example, the yearbook is projected to have fewer pages than those of past years.

“We don’t have all the same content; we’re missing out on all of the at-school activities. There’s no rallies, no dances and because we don’t know what a second semester is going to look like, we decided to [go shorter] here,” Finnegan said.


To counteract the lack of school activities, the committee has decided to seek alternative methods to fill their yearbook. Head photographer and editor Jacklyn Nee has adapted to the changes by accepting photo submissions from Burlingame students for a chance to be featured in the yearbook.

“We’ve been able to get some Halloween photos and other event photos, which have been really cool. And we’ve been able to post on social media platforms that we are taking photos from students,” Nee said. “So far it’s been going well.” 


This crowdsourcing of photos is all in an effort to make the yearbook more focused on student life. While photographers are still going out and covering sports, the student life section of the book is going to play a bigger role than it has in the past. Jake Cacciato, the editor-in-chief of the yearbook for the 2020-2021 school year, said that they’re using different styles of photos to create a larger focus on student life.

“Right now, we’re doing these things called environmental photos where we kind of interview people that are doing cool things around Burlingame, and we’re gonna put that in the student life section of this year’s book,” Cacciato said.


Considering the lack of events, the student life section is being expanded upon to fill the gap in this year’s book with experiences that students are witnessing outside of school. The staff is also open to any questions, concerns or suggestions in relation to the yearbook. “Email Ms. Riley, reach out to us on Instagram or reach out to Jake, Niall or I,” Nee said.   

While the yearbook is going to look different this year, the staff is optimistic, and are working hard to get the book ready to be sold.