HHS Students Work On School’s 100th Yearbook

Posted: April 2, 2014

Aurvan Koyee, 18, HHS senior and yearbook co-editor-in-chief (left), talks with junior Christa Stader, 15, social media editor, while working on the school’s 100th yearbook on Monday. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Samples of old Harrisonburg High School yearbooks and photos line a table in yearbook class. The students are working on publishing the school’s 100th yearbook.
Harrisonburg High School students work together on pages during their yearbook class Monday morning. They are working on publishing the school’s 100th yearbook.

HARRISONBURG — The 100th edition of TAJ, Harrisonburg High School’s yearbook, looks nothing like the first one printed a century ago, but there may be some familiar faces.

Students at HHS have been looking back at decades of their school’s history — in all its various locations — to compile flashback pages that celebrate the athletes, black-and-white photos, odd fashions and crazy hair of years past.

They’re trying to get at least one photo of each of the high school’s roughly 1,400 students in the book, too.

Co-editors-in-chief Aurvan Koyee and Lucy Rose, both seniors, said they’re trying to connect the past with the present. There will be a special section for historical highlights, but nearly every one of the 288 pages of the yearbook will also have a small piece of history.

The students are putting small photos from the past 100 years at the bottoms of the pages to tie today’s high school activities with yesteryear’s.

Koyee said she hopes people putting together the 200th edition of the yearbook will use theirs as a springboard.

“I definitely hope they get ideas from what we did and are motivated by what we worked on,” she said.

There’s no shortage of trivia about the school or the fads that passed through the hallways, either. The yearbook’s pages include fun facts like how in the 1980s, married teachers weren’t allowed to work in the same building, which presented a problem for business teachers Pam and Robert Wilkins (Robert left to work at ComSonics).

The first edition of the school newspaper, “The Streak,” was printed in 1959, established because students had been writing an underground newspaper. And in 1913, the school system saw its largest graduating class yet: 36 students.

Mary Strickler, an English teacher who has been the school’s yearbook teacher for 30 years, said she’s seen yearbooks change dramatically since she started working for HHS in 1984.

“When I started doing yearbooks, we had typewriters and a darkroom,” she said, describing the literal cutting and pasting that went into designing the books.

Now, students are making short videos advertising the yearbooks for their fellow students, they include QR codes in the books for students to scan with their phones and see more information online, black-and-white photos are popular because they’re retro and not because they’re the only option, and the books are much, much larger. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to design and print the yearbook, which are $60 for a copy.

Community members can buy copies of the yearbook, too, even if they don’t have relatives attending the school. The students are still looking for contributions of old photos, and are asking community members to contribute.

To buy a yearbook or provide photos or information, contact Mary Strickler at mstrickler@harrisonburg.k12.va.us .

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or kcloos@dnronline.com

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