Capturing memories despite COVID-19

TAHS YEARBOOK ADVISOR KAREN ZIEMKE has missed being able to work closely with this year’s teton staff, but everyone is working hard to put out the 2020 edition, despite not being able to do it in person. Photo / Per Peterson

When it comes to putting together the high school yearbook, this has been a year like no other

By Per Peterson

Karen Ziemke has been putting yearbooks together with Tracy Area High School students for nearly 20 years. She’s never had to do it like this.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in schools closing in mid-March, and that threw a wrench into the yearbook staff’s plans.

For starters, Ziemke now meets with the yearbook staff via Zoom — an online version of what would be a typical conference meeting. More importantly, no school means no photos that would otherwise be taken at this time of year — things like spring sports and perhaps prom and Senior Awards Night. And with so much still up in the air surrounding the future of the last weeks of the school year, it’s impossible to plan on getting photos of this year’s graduation ceremony.

On top of that, Ziemke missed the month of February to be with her husband, who is recovering from a stroke — and February and March is typically the yearbook staff’s busy time.

“We have to be kind of creative in how we represent those groups,” said Ziemke, a 1979 THS graduate who herself served on the yearbook staff during her high school days. “We don’t have them all together to take a group photo. It’s tough because they’re not getting to do the pictures that they want.”

This year’s staff is only four strong: Cora Leonard, Tristan Xiong, Ceara Lasley and Audrey Johnson.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.