by Richard Lamb– Advance Editor
Yes they did.
The title of this year’s Rogers City High School (RCHS) yearbook is “Can We Do It?” asking a question about whether there would even be a yearbook. That question was answered with the publication of “Perannos 2012,” under the direction of high school teacher Mike Kosiara, senior editor Hilary Viegelahn and junior editor Brittany Ciupka.
Last year, faced with shrinking funding and a lower student population, the school administration considered either eliminating the yearbook as a regular class or making it an after-school club. Strong community support and several appearances by potential yearbook staffers made the board of education reverse its decision, opening the door for the class to continue. Kosiara agreed to take on an extra class, and guided the production of the 128-page book, including 16 pages of color.
“If it was not for them, we would not have had a yearbook. It was impressive to me watching them work to develop their strategy and advocate for themselves,” Kosiara said of the students who worked to preserve the program as a class.
The book’s introduction page tells some of the effort done to preserve the class. “Yes we can. The proof? You’re reading it,” it begins.
Later in the introduction, the story continues. “By the end of the school year, groups of students banded together to demand the yearbook class be reinstated as an in-school class session. At every school board meeting, students would go and voice their opinions about canceling this class. By the middle of the summer, the whole community had learned about the yearbook saga. Every week, the Presque Isle County Advance was flooded with articles and letters to the editor supporting the yearbook. Finally, after months of patience and persistence, the school board made the decision to keep the yearbook as an in-school class.” The class produced one of the finest books ever done at RCHS packed with quality photographs and well-written copy. Each page has the page designer’s name on the bottom, a new innovation for the 2012 book.
“First of all we wanted to give credit where credit was due. Secondly, it was to promote pride in the work on the pages. Everyone knows who did what,” Kosiara said. The students learned valuable lessons along the way. “We were allowed to produce the 2012 yearbook through the students’ efforts. The kids did a great job of selling ads. They took a tremendous number of pictures which gave us the chance to be choosy in our selection of pictures. I ad the great fortune of watching them grow in their abilities to write, design pages and place pictures. It was a pleasure to watch them stretch themselves and their creative abilities as the year progressed,” Kosiara said.
Preserving the tradition of a yearbook pays off in many ways. The book becomes a keepsake for years to come, and is missed by those who don’t have a yearbook. “We just had a graduate from 1982 stop by the office to see if we had any yearbooks from the four years he attended high school. He had lost them during Hurricane Katrina. We had only one left, and that was from 1982. He asked how much it would be, and we asked for just a small donation. He gave us $50. I would say that he considered his yearbooks to be extremely valuable,” Kosiara said.
This year’s class is already at work on the 2013 edition. Senior editor of Anna Lehman and junior editor is Taylor Rhode. A few extra copies of the 2012 yearbook are available to purchase at the high school office.