Every year, whether people want them or not, high schools release yearbooks. These annual compendiums are meant to honor the year’s accomplishments of students and teachers And, in some cases, they attain that lofty goal. Or so I have heard. More often though they are either so vanilla that they are rendered meaningless or they provide so many levels of unintentional humor that the students will require therapy for decades. The mere phrase “class reunion” can cause them hours of twitching. My yearbook picture in 1979 featured me with uncombed hair wearing cool half tint glasses. As you can imagine I looked like I was stoned out of my mind and my family was traumatized. A buddy of mine decided, erroneously as it turns out, that looking like Elvis was cool. His parents were apoplectic.
Yeah, good times.
Last year, NASA’s next rocket scientist, a young Colorado lady named Syndey Spies had her photo rejected from her yearbook because she looked like a hooker. Her mother, a gem to be sure, complained loud and long that her daughter was a paragon of virtue as was the whole family and that the young lady was merely expressing herself. As I noted when the story hit, Colorado police disagreed with them vehemently. Mostly because mom and daughter thought it was a great idea to dress like whores and then get a bunch of teens drunk and let them drive around town. As I said, paragons of class and virtue.
If you want a cool yearbook story you need to hang out with the Nguyen gals who pulled off one of the best pranks I’ve ever seen.
They may have different friends and different interests but nothing brings high school students together like alphabetical order.
For the eight students at a California high school with the same last name-Nguyen- it was obvious their wallet-size snapshots would be sharing the same yearbook page.
So instead of exerting their individuality with the standard Grateful Dead quote and a prom-worthy up-do, they decided to join forces for the ultimate prank. Alexandra, Angela, Angelica, Elizabeth, Emily, Isabella, Madeline and Vi Nguyen all wore the same black off-shoulder dresses and the same hairstyles. Then they went for the win.
Eschewing the optional yearbook one-liner under each of their photos, they divided up two sentences that made fellow students and administrators think twice before making any stereotypical assumptions. Altogether, the words under the Nguyen girls’ eight pictures read: “We know what you’re thinking and no we’re not related.”
Now that’s funny right there I tell you what.
But, the one humorous yearbook story that has people wavering between appalled and amused comes from Hoosic Valley New York.
Danielle Sanzone has the 411.
A yearbook is used by graduating students to remember their time in school, their friends, teachers and fellow classmates. But for some students in Hoosic Valley, the latest edition of the school’s yearbook won’t bring back such good memories.
A “non-intentional, honest mistake” resulted in some student-athletes being labeled in a high school yearbook caption as “Creepy smile kid” and “Some tall guy” in the Hoosic Valley Central School District, acting Superintendent Amy Goodell said.
“The yearbook editor and staff are devastated. Apologies are being made,” she said about the yearbook known as the “Totem Pole” in the small rural district in Rensselaer County.
The track and field page of the 2012-13 yearbook included a caption that names students as “Isolation kid”, “Creepy smile kid” and “Some tall guy”, and the word “Someone” is used multiple times to label those pictured.
“As many books as possible have been held and are being amended,” Goodell said in an emailed statement. “The Yearbook advisor, staff, administration and board of education are very sorry that this occurred. Parents that have a student who was not referenced to correctly have been contacted. The parents and students affected by the error have been understanding.”
The high school has a total enrollment of about 377 students with an average of 94 pupils in each graduating class, according to district information obtained from the state Education Department.
Some students contacted at the school, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they did not know too much about what happened with the yearbooks. And one student on the track and field team said he was not too concerned with what happened.
The yearbook club is made up of more than a dozen students and a yearbook advisor. The advisor and editor in chief of the yearbook were contacted, but they did not return requests for comment.
Meanwhile, some in the surrounding Capital District community have felt this could be considered a form of bullying, and others wondered if the wrong draft page went to print.
“[This is] unreal and disturbing,” said Stacy Lee of Schaghticoke. “I hope disciplinary action is taken on the yearbook committee and whichever adult was in charge of the committee and reviewing the book before printing.”
A few others thought this was likely meant to be a joke, including Hoosic Valley alum Matt Woelfersheim.
“Obviously this was meant to be funny,” he said. “They are, after all, high school kids.”
But other alums were not laughing at what happened.
“[This] makes me embarrassed to be a 2010 graduate from Hoosic Valley,” said Brianna Paradis.
Goodell said the issue is being remedied as much as possible.
Dear Amy Goodell:
You are the Superintendent of a school. In case the meaning of that is unclear to you, that is a place where children go to learn. Therefore it is incumbent upon you, as a leader and role model, to know that the word is “unintentional” and that non-intentional is simply nonsense.
Secondly, are you completely daft? Or do you truly believe that we are all mouth breathing morons? Those can be the only two explanations for your lame excuse. You expect us to believe that a room full of students and an adult supervisor all missed these captions?
Do you also expect us to believe that the Easter Bunny is real?
As Brianna Paradis noted, she being the only graduate who still resides in town apparently, this is embarrassing, at best.
Oh, and we all know that “The Creepy Kid” is keeping his copy as fuel for his revenge fantasies that I’m sure will all be harmless fun.