Coming full circle with yearbook, journalism


Karen Jarrard (center below Elvis) never dreamed she and the rest of The Gazebo staff would run into the “King” in the halls of Stratford

Four years ago, I sat down to my middle school desk and signed up for yearbook as my high school elective.

I thoughtfully wrote down the answers to the questions, knowing this was the class I wanted to take for the next four years.

On my first day of the ninth grade, I followed an embarrassing line down the main hallway, impatiently waiting to go to my first class. When I got my schedule from Mrs. Michelle Fleming, I saw my elective was not yearbook, but journalism. I walked into this class, of which I knew nothing about, confused about why I had been placed there.

I saw a few familiar faces and a teacher, who I didn’t know at the time, but would help me get through high school for the next four years.

Mr. Ed Grisamore had his hands full. The majority of the class was six freshmen girls. Though it was tough, he eventually began to figure out what it was like to deal with girls.

There were days when we did not want to go outside for fear of our hair frizzing. And sometimes the only thing that made our day better was the stash of popcorn hidden in Mr. Grisamore’s desk. He also learned that when sending a freshman girl to interview a senior football player, he should probably already assume that our whole group had to go for protection.

For three years of my life, my favorite part of the day was entering into Room 129 and seeing what the next 45 minutes would bring upon me. We had endless laughs, a couple of car rides around the loop, and many many trips to the Eagle’s Nest. I learned how to interview without fear and also how to make sure the mood was always light.

As my senior year began, it was obvious my schedule was not going to work. I knew that by the second quarter my more in-depth classes would become harder and harder to stay focused on.

While switching so many classes around, journalism was the one class I was worried about keeping. Mr. Grisamore had given me an editor position on the staff.

However, in the end, there was just no way. I was upset. This had been my “thing” for the past three years, and now it was gone.

Then something strange happened.

I was called into the office to discuss a different way for my schedule to work. They told me if I was still interested in yearbook, it would work very nicely with my schedule. I sat there and thought back to my eighth-grade self and how much she wanted to be in that class.

So, I promptly agreed and asked what would be filling the one gap I had left in my schedule. This was the best part. I was told I could stay with the journalism staff and continue my work on the Gazebo as Mr. Grisamore’s intern. This was the best thing anyone could have told me.

So, here I am — a senior living her eighth-grade dream of being on the yearbook staff and finishing up the end of my favorite class I have ever taken — journalism.

I have gotten to take one class that I knew I would love and one class I went in hating and now don’t know what I would do without.

Stratford has given me so much, but putting me in the wrong class my freshman year is possibly the best thing.

As I look back on my years in high school, I don’t remember the article I wrote or the film I edited. I remember going out to get the story and Kaitlyn Neel forcing us to go get food from the lunch room. Or trying to edit on my computer while listening to the latest drama from the seniors out of the other ear.

This class gave me so much more than a good writing ability. I has given me memories I will never forget, and I look forward to the upcoming year to see what crazy things we can stir up in yearbook.