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AHS Debates Removal of Controversial Items in the Yearbook

The 2017-2018 yearbook may not include superlatives and senior quotes.

TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE- Kalob Flory stands with last year’s Javelin with the controversial quotes on display. Some of last years quotes contained double meanings behind them and sparked the debate on whether or not to have them.

TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE- Kalob Flory stands with last year’s Javelin with the controversial quotes on display. Some of last years quotes contained double meanings behind them and sparked the debate on whether or not to have them.

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After the successful sale of 230 yearbooks to AHS students in the 2016-17 school year, students, teachers, and journalists realized that issues were arising with some aspects of the yearbook, the Javelin. Like many high school yearbooks, the Javelin is supplied with different items that students find interesting, including the senior quotes and superlatives–categories known as the “best ofs.”

Over the years Allison Berryhill, adviser to the Javelin, has seen multiple accounts of “surreptitious things with quotes.” By this she means “coded” messages that may carry meanings that don’t reflect positively on the publication. She doesn’t enjoy “policing” the quotes used in the publication, but events in recent years have made the choice to censor the quotes almost inevitable. Graduating seniors sometimes have had issues in the past with finding a quote and being able to cite one correctly.

“A lot of kids don’t have a (favorite) quote,” Berryhill said about the ongoing battle with the senior quotes that have occurred over her seven years as the adviser. Many people don’t realize that considerable fact-checking has to be done before the Javelin is sent to the presses. “We don’t want our publication to say something was said by Theodore Roosevelt when it wasn’t.”

Editor in Chief of the Javelin Mariah Cook agrees. The mandatory fact-checking “takes a lot of time.”

The continuous debate throughout the yearbook committee, as well as the rest of the school, regarding the possible removal of the quotes and superlatives showcases both sides of the coin. The decision as to whether or not to include senior quotes in the 2017-18 AHS yearbook is still in debate. Berryhill said the quote factor is still negotiable by many means.

However, the superlatives are a different story. Every year, some of the topics change slightly, but the result is always the same: people get their feelings hurt. “We shouldn’t have ‘best hair’ or ‘best smile’ because everyone is beautiful in their own way,” Berryhill said. “I have seen the hurt that superlatives have caused over the years.” A news source in Bowling Green, Ky. confirms this belief.

As yearbook adviser, Berryhill works extensively with the editors to create the best product possible. “I try to work with the editors so they can make the journalism program better than when they found it,” Berryhill said. Extensive bartering among the yearbook editors takes place as decisions are made.

Not only is the yearbook committee debating these issues, so are students around AHS. Many are upset that it will hinder their ability to have their “final say” before they graduate high school. Senior Bekah Hallman said the possible removal of the senior quotes was “downright silly.” She believes that the past seniors’ decisions on quotes should not affect the present and future of the feature. Fellow senior Kalob Flory agrees, saying he wants to have a senior quote so that underclassmen would have something to remember him by.

“I think getting rid of the superlatives is a good idea because it just turns everything into a contest,””

— Kalob Flory

As for the superlatives, Hallman said the possible removal of the superlatives is unfair, though she believes that with the use of different items to “modernize” the choices of categories, the superlatives would be even better than before.

However, Flory disagrees. “I think getting rid of the superlatives is a good idea because it just turns everything into a contest,” he said. Flory also believes that the superlatives continue to showcase kids who are always in the spotlight. Hallman disagrees with him, saying “Superlatives are a great way to show people who are not as frequently represented.”

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AHS Debates Removal of Controversial Items in the Yearbook