Senior editor-in-chief Yanele Ledesma and junior Jewel Turner discuss upcoming print deadlines with the class. (Photo by Shimin Zhang)

Medallion loses adviser, eight staffers

Traditionally, the yearbook has had about 15 to 25 staffers, allowing them to produce a 240-page, all-school yearbook. However, the staff was cut in nearly half this year, from 18 students in the 2017-18 school year to 10 currently. And on top of that, they have a new adviser: AP Art History teacher Liz Leavy. 

Editor-in-chief Michaela Chen said a lot will change this year, as the staffers will have a much greater workload and more responsibilities.

“Last year, (former director of technology Tom Wroten) helped us with technology and communicating with our publisher,” she said.

“Since we have a new adviser, (editors-in-chief Kyra LaFitte, Yanele Ledesma) and I are going to have to be a lot more hands on and have to deal with the publication company directly.”

With the departure of Wroten in June, Leavy took over the position as yearbook adviser.

Because of the small staff and change of adviser, managing editor Luca Procida said this year will be a “learning curve for everyone.”

According to Leavy, who has no past yearbook experience, Wroten was the one who recommended her for the position.

“He explained the job to me and told me that he thought I would be really good at it since I tend to be a pretty artsy person,” she said.

“And he was right. I’m having a great time, and it definitely helps that the editors have everything under control.”

The biggest challenge so far, according to Leavy, has been learning the yearbook terminology and the way the staff runs. 

“There is a lot of lingo and time tables that I don’t know, so the editors have to constantly catch me up,” she said.

Leavy said that her main job this year will be managing the budget and other administrative duties, as well as organizing the annual staff convention trip. 

But on top of the challenge of a new adviser, the Medallion is also dealing with reduction in their size.

The yearbook will thus have to change the way they split up their work and increase their teamwork, according to Chen.

“Last year we assigned individual people to spreads,” Chen said.

“(Now) we’re planning on having weekly group discussions to go over the work that needs to get done and splitting that work among multiple different people.”

Procida agreed, saying the staff will have to delegate more than before.

“People are going to have a bigger workload because we have so many fewer people,” Procida said.

The key to success, according to Chen, will be organization.

“We’re planning on keeping the same number of pages but simply having better organization so our staff can be more efficient and finish by the deadlines,” Chen said.

The Medallion has also added two more design staffers, upping the design staff to five people.

“Everyone will be getting a little bit of design time too, since we have such a small staff,” Chen said.

The Medallion will also take part in a new photo-sharing program with the Octagon to combat the staff shortage, according to Chen.

“Last year, I suggested to (Octagon photography editor Jacqueline Chao) that the Octagon and Medallion photographers work together and make a team Google Drive folder to share photos,” she said.

“We’ve already started that folder and are currently sharing photos. That will take a big weight off of the shoulders of our photographers.”

Copy editor Gabi Alvarado said that the staff has a “pretty good” grip on everything this year despite all the changes.

“And since there are only two new people, we can really stay on top of everything,” she said. “The staff is pretty well balanced. We just have to work a little bit harder.”

One advantage of having a small staff is the ease of teaching class lessons, according to Alvarado.

“I was able to teach a lesson on grammar during boot camp, and everyone was focused and listening,” she said. 

Leavy also noted the staff is senior heavy this year, with six seniors, two juniors and two freshmen. 

“Next year, there is going to be an incredible loss of knowledge, as the majority of our staff is seniors,” she said.

“I may have to take on a much more active role next year, so I am trying to learn as much as possible.”

By Jack Christian

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