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Preserving a school year

Preserving a school year

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Consider the humble school yearbook. 

Do you remember the last time you dug out your old high school yearbook and spent time reminiscing over the good times, and the bad? Do you know where your high school yearbook is? 

Well, have you ever stopped to think how much time and energy goes into making a high school yearbook? 

Yearbook class students attend most school sporting events to take photos as well as capture photos from around the school throughout the year.

School yearbooks have been around for centuries. Like other institutions of society, they have evolved along with the schools they represent. 

Today’s yearbooks trace their roots back to the earliest known predecessors from the 17th century when they were little more than scrapbooks signed by classmates and teachers. Before the invention of photography, yearbooks were often composed by the individual student. Class and school events were memorialized through the inclusion of cut flowers, notes and articles about events, and even locks of hair. 

The first known school yearbook published in the U.S. came from Yale University in 1806, however no copies of that book exist today. The oldest surviving yearbook was produced by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1823 and was called the “Signia.” The first high school yearbook, The Evergreen, appeared 22 years later.

The earliest Hemingford High School yearbook on record is the 1929 yearbook.1929 had a graduating class of 18 and all 18 are pictured in the yearbook. The 1929 edition also captured a photo of Student Council Members – Howard Whelan, Jessie Cross, Velma Plahn, Marie Duhon, Jane Kloppel, Wayne Shaver, Kenneth Kloppel, Oscar Planansky, Isabella Headden, Viola Peterson, and Emil Prochazka

The 1929 Hemingford High School Orchestra, Choir, and Spudpickers football and basketball teams were also pictured. Special highlights of 1929 include: the school mascot was the “Spudpicker”; school was dismissed so students could attend the fair; Junior High was organized this year, including grades 7-9; next year (1920), each of the lower (elementary) grades will have a teacher for each class in separate rooms;

Advertisements are featured in the 1929 yearbook as they are still today. 

Ads from 1929:

  • Western Public Service Co. - To the future Housewife and Business Men of Hemingford--let Electricity lighten your tasks during the years to come. 
  • The Hemingford Ledger - Stands for Service. Cheerfully and Efficiently Rendered. Mabel Grimes, Editor and Publisher.
  • The Roxy Theater - Hemingford’s Pleasure Center. A place you will be proud to go and take your friends. 
  • Walla’s Recreation Parlor - Billiards, fountain, candy, tobacco - A good place to meet your friends. Jack Walla, Proprietor

Check out the full 1929 yearbook and other years on the Hemingfordschools.org website.

Since 1991, former Hemingford High Teacher Kay Horstman led the yearbook class with the 2021 yearbook being the final yearbook she edited as she retired at the end of the 2020-2021 year. 

English teacher Tamara Bila has stepped into the role as yearbook class teacher this year. 

“This has been a huge learning curve for all of us,” said Bila who is teaching her first semester of school while still attending school at CSC to obtain her teaching certificate. “I think we are getting through it very well.” 

Each student is assigned certain pages to complete. They are in charge of taking photos for the page, filling in a story-box to describe the page, and laying out the page with a few guidelines to follow so the book flows as a whole.

Wish the ladies luck as they capture a whole year worth of activities that will be treasured by many and looked back on in 92 years as we look back on the yearbook from 1929.

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