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News Release
College Place High School Yearbook Students Create Memories Despite Unprecedented Circumstances - 04/20/21

Student Editors, Designers, and Photographers in the Talon Yearbook program at College Place High School sat wide-eyed last year as the announcement came over the loudspeaker that students and staff were being sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The air was sucked out of the room as Talon staffers calculated how it would be possible to finish the book that was appropriately and possibly prophetically entitled, 2020, Our Perspective

Last year was definitely a lesson in focusing on what really matters and maintaining a positive perspective.  Yearbook Advisor and student Talon Staffers jumped into action as they uploaded photos for the final spreads (approx. 40 pages) for the 2019-2020 yearbook, which would now be completed from their homes.


Rewind one day before that announcement. On Thursday, March 12, two yearbook staff photographers were assigned to every spring sport after school that day. 2021 Talon Editor Veronica Sierra, then a sophomore, shared, “We had around 8 photographers out as well as our advisor capturing shots of spring sports. Even before the announcement was made on 3/13, there was an uncertain urgency to capture all we could ‘just in case’. Turns out that frantic plight served us well as we were able to upload those photos and successfully create amazing spring sports pages. Many other schools across the nation had no spring portion of their book and I am glad we had the opportunity to complete ours. We wrote stories, conducted interviews, designed pages from our homes. We met the print deadline in the middle of a pandemic selling a record numbers of yearbooks. We even sold out and had to place another order.” shared Sierra. 

Sierra went on to say, “One of the most impactful things that we learn in yearbook and media communications classes is to be proactive planners. Because we were so proactive, we were able to successfully complete our book on time and offer CPHS students a sense of normalcy during a pandemic via the 2020 yearbook. The tradition of the yearbook is important. Even in a pandemic, we were able to honor that tradition and for that, I am proud,” added Sierra.


In the summer of 2020, all staffers gathered via zoom with their advisor to decide on the theme for the upcoming 2020-2021 yearbook. It had been a long summer and many faced long isolation, making it nice to see one another as the staffers had become family. The team had been through something very challenging in the spring of 2020 and knew that what lay ahead was even more daunting. Yearbook staffers from past years joined the virtual meeting, including former yearbook editor, Emilee Zillgen, who was living in Germany, helping the team decide on the theme for 2020-2021.  

The CPHS Talon Yearbook Team decided the theme would be the Moments that Connect Us, not fully realizing how challenged human connection would be over the next ten months. They first ironed out the cover, deciding on blue marble visually depicting the strength and resilience students, and staff continued to show during this time. Just as marble is resilient and strong, our staff and students have shown that same strength during this very challenging time. Like the cracks found in the marble chosen for the cover, we too felt a bit fractured; but still we are resilient.

The Talon team decided to focus on those moments that before the pandemic all often took for granted when we were together with our friends in person. In the spring, it seemed that much was taken away. In a simpler time, we would walk into our classes and our teachers would say, “Hey let’s go outside and do a team builder” and we would go outside and do what seemed like a mindless activity, but really helped break down walls to work more confidently and cohesively as a team. Those moments were stolen from us when we had to learn from home. Our team wanted to focus on those lost moments that we wanted to cherish. 

Never in the history of College Place High School, or possibly any high school across the country, has a yearbook publication been created under such conditions.  CPHS spent the better part of three months in “Full Remote Learning” and the other three months in half-time hybrid instruction.  School activities, athletics, and a myriad of other “typical” high school programs were paused or compressed into six-week seasons.  The feat of creating a yearbook under such unprecedented circumstances was momentous, to say the least.  However, the CPHS Talon Staff rose to the occasion of a lifetime to provide a lifetime of memories for their peers.

Talon Yearbook Advisor Cathy Mebes shared, “I have never been more proud of our young professionals in the Yearbook and Advanced Media programs.  We just submitted this year’s book and met the deadline and our students will have their book before graduation. I am so proud of our Talon staffers.  They created an impressive book, met every print deadline and did so in half the amount of class time due to the hybrid schedule.  We are grateful for their commitment.”   

This year’s edition is being overseen by Editor-in-chief Veronica Sierra and produced by a staff of 24 students.  The 2020-2021 yearbook will offer 120 pages showcasing hundreds of photos, student interviews, quotes, and stories. The book, a school tradition for 7 years, will highlight the events and experiences of the 510 students at College Place High School. As such, it is an important vehicle for chronicling the “story of the year” through their eyes, an even more important story than ever given the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Our staff is especially excited to present this year’s yearbook,” said Cathy Mebes. “It will represent hundreds of hours of work and tireless dedication to journalistic excellence—all while being in a unique and challenging situation. We committed to chronicling the key events of the school year while focusing on the real lives of students who comprise our student body. Staff members have gone above and beyond to take photographs, write stories, design layouts, and work within the constraints of the pandemic challenges to produce a professional publication.”

The staff, working with Jostens representative, Virginia Wilson, utilized state-of-the-art technology tools and industry standard Adobe Indesign software provided by the company allowed the yearbook staff the ability to work remotely. 

“The adviser and staff at College Place High School have gone above and beyond to ensure that as many students as possible are included in this year’s yearbook. I am beyond proud of their willingness to adjust and learn new technology, spend countless hours outside of their required class time—all while working mostly remotely, which presents its own set of challenges,” said Virginia Wilson, Jostens Rep. “This edition is definitely going to be one for the record books!”

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the 2020-2021 academic year in unprecedented ways leading to school closures across the country. The Talon Yearbook staff has faced the unique challenge of not only documenting things like canceled sporting events, dances, and normal school events but figuring out how to produce, sell and distribute yearbooks all while normal processes aren’t possible.  Overcoming apparent insurmountable odds, the Talon Staff found a way to bring us together, to connect us, publishing the “Moments that Connect Us” despite it all. 

The yearbook delivery is expected to be in early June, prior to graduation. Copies are also still available for preorder at while supplies last.


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