Eastern Nazarene College’s 2016-2017 yearbook was published an entire semester late. This delay was unusual; it caused students who graduated in 2017 to become impatient. If it was not for Kaylin Johnson, Managing Editor, McKenzie Blake, Head of Design, and Joey Fortin, Head of Photography, the 2016-2017 yearbook might have never been published.
The yearbook is a compilation of students, activities, and memories of the past school year. The annual publication of ENC’s yearbook, or Nautilus, has been active since 1922, making it the school’s longest running club.
Nautilus has come a long way since its first loose leather-bound yearbook; we now can add color images, aspects of graphic design, journalism, literature, and more.
Traditionally, the yearbook is revealed in September for the previous academic year. Students wait to see the design of the yearbook, the photos inside, and all of the mementos from the year. This year was different. The 2016-2017 yearbook was revealed in February 2018.
Johnson, junior at ENC, joined Nautilus in September 2017 and immediately took over for the previous Managing Editor, Amber Ervin. Johnson took the position with little knowledge of how much work needed to be done for the completion of the 2016-2017 yearbook.
During summer 2017, Chris Estep, then a senior at ENC and Director of Veritas-Nautilus, reached out to Johnson to suggest that she apply for the position of Managing Editor for Nautilus. Because it was a valuable opportunity for her career path, she decided to apply.
At that point, Johnson was not aware that the 2016-2017 yearbook was incomplete. When September came around, Johnson came back to school and to the title of Managing Editor for Nautilus. When informed about the unfinished yearbook, she was willing to take on the extra work.
However, when she began to look over the 2016-2017 yearbook that she was expected to finish, she started to feel overwhelmed. There were over 100 pages of blank space, and this is when Johnson realized this job would consist of more work than she originally envisioned.
Although the white pages seemed daunting at first, she explained that the work that the previous team did do “looked really, really nice.” Creating the final product for publication was just a matter of finishing what the previous team had started without changing their layout, color choices, and page designs.
Johnson said the workload was stressful, but at the same time, it was rewarding. Having to juggle schoolwork, finishing almost an entire yearbook in one semester, and working on the current yearbook (2017-2018) was difficult, but what got her through the deadlines was her desire for students to “have something to look back on.”
Blake, a senior at ENC, is the Head of Design of Nautilus, which includes designing pages for the yearbook, promoting events, and spreading the word about Nautilus. Blake joined Nautilus in fall 2017, making her first appearance on the team a strong one.
She took on the extra work to finish an incomplete yearbook and put enough dedication toward the current yearbook to make sure there would be no delay in its creation. “The workload was intense coming into something that was not complete,” Blake says. She explains the payoff was a yearbook everyone could be proud of.
Fortin, a sophomore at ENC, took on the role Head of Photography in fall 2017. Fortin had no idea what the status of the 2016-2017 yearbook was when he joined Nautilus. To help finish the yearbook, he had to retrieve images from the previous year’s staff.
On top of finding images through piles of files, Fortin and his personal team of photographers had to take pictures of events happening during the 2017-2018 school year. Juggling these many tasks was a challenge, admits Fortin, but he shares that the Nautilus team “did the best [they] could with what [they] had.”
With dedication from Johnson, Blake, and Fortin, the 2016-2017 yearbook was able to be published. Although it took an extra semester to finish, students were excited to see the memories from the previous year all wrapped up in a book.
Each member of the current Nautilus team contributed a great amount of work to the 2016-2017 yearbook. The question remains, however, as to why they needed to finish last year’s yearbook in the first place. The previous Managing Editor of Nautilus, Amber Ervin, shed light on the struggles during her time as a part of the Nautilus team that resulted in an unfinished yearbook.
Ervin’s story begins with her joining the Nautilus team in May 2016. She was just finishing her junior year and was looking forward to designing the 2016-2017 yearbook when she returned to campus in August.
When August came around, Ervin was faced with a serious task. A remake of the 2015-2016 yearbook was needed. Ervin refers to the original 2015-2016 yearbook as “the little green monster” because it was filled with “more memes and baby animals than actual ENC students, not to mention the little negative comments on ENC society [that were included].” This was disheartening to Ervin.
A remake of the 2015-2016 yearbook ultimately cost the Student Government Association (SGA) $5,000, which was voted on and approved by the entire SGA counsel. This huge project took a toll on Ervin as it took a full semester to fix.
During the remake of the “little green monster,” Ervin and her team had to simultaneously start making the 2016-2017 yearbook. “By the time finals week rolled around/ the end of April, I remember thinking ‘we got this!’” explains Ervin. Since she was a senior, she had no finals; her staff, however, “was swamped.”
She was pulling all-nighters trying to finish the yearbook, but problems arose because she was the only full-time member who could put her full attention on the yearbook during the last week of classes. That combined with the struggle of trying to work around the lagging operating system for the yearbook added up to be a very daunting task.
Ervin remembers “trying to stay positive and tell [her] advisors [they] were in good shape, but it was not enough time.” She graduated on May 8th and was soon locked out of the system which caused her to be unable to work on the yearbook. She had to admit failure when Keri Lewis, member of the Publications Board, reached out to her in August.
Ervin states, “I don’t need to explain to the student body how difficult college is. I am just sorry my best intentions and efforts were not good enough. Had the year started differently, had I recruited more staff, if I had lowered my expectations for what a yearbook should be, things would have been different.”
The 2016-2017 yearbook is a special one. Blood, sweat, and tears went into it, and people are beyond happy with the outcome.
The 2017-2018 yearbook staff has been giving each other weekly updates on the status of the yearbook to make sure no one gets left behind in the workload. They want to make sure “the curse of the unfinished yearbook” stops with them.
Blake would like to “set up a firm foundation” for the upcoming yearbook staff. She says the Nautilus team has been making communication and organization a priority. Johnson agrees and also would like “a better system to keep people accountable.” With more checkmarks in place, the chance that future yearbooks will be published late is greatly diminished.
Lewis states “the board intends to put some timelines and checkpoints in place to ensure timely completion of the [yearbook] going forward. At this point, there haven’t been any new policies written or put in place.”
As of April 2018, the Nautilus team is on track for publishing the 2017-2018 yearbook on time.