Gabriel Garcia, the Advanced Placement Literature teacher, is assuming the yearbook advisor position at Bonita Vista High for the 2017-2018 school year. Michele Godoy, the previous advisor and the current Coordinator of Integrated Services, ran yearbook for a total of 14 years before Garcia started this year.
Entering his first year as advisor, Garcia and the new co-editors-in-chief, seniors Alina Frigerio-Swain and Tonie Gabrielle Zaballa, want to keep the family dynamic that is an important aspect of yearbook.
“I have fond memories of my experience in teaching journalism and working with the students. It’s [similar to] a work experience situation. I thought I’d take it up again in the form of yearbook,“ Garcia said.
Garcia wants to keep yearbook as a well structured and developed program; just as it was with Godoy as the advisor.
“Ms. Godoy has done a fine job with it for the last 14 years. It was already a program unto itself. In that way I knew that I was going to have big shoes to fill,” Garcia said.
Not only is yearbook undergoing changes through the advisor, but both editors-in-chiefs, Frigerio-Swain and Zaballa, had plans to make changes prior to Garcia taking over the advisor position. After being copy editor last year, Zaballa is now sharing the position of editor-in-chief with Frigerio-Swain.
“Alina and I are planning to change a lot of things about the yearbook this year and since we had those intentions at some point, Mr. Garcia also voiced that’s what he wanted for the yearbook,” Zaballa said.
This will be Zaballa and Frigerio-Swain’s final year on yearbook staff as they graduate in June. Garcia, however, stated he plans to stay on as advisor beyond one year. His prior experience as newspaper advisor provides background knowledge about journalism that he wants to teach to his new students.
“I’m trying to bring my journalistic teaching background into getting them to write as if they were writing for the newspaper. I’m encouraging them to follow the traditional formats of journalism,” Garcia said.
Senior Frigerio-Swain believes that by having strong bonds with fellow staff members yearbook becomes stronger, and the connectedness is why she enjoys yearbook.
“I enjoy yearbook because of the atmosphere of it. We all are very close to each other because we are constantly criticizing and also complementing each other, so it’s really just a family. I never expected that to be the reason why I would enjoy yearbook,” Frigerio-Swain said, “but that’s [what it] turned out to be.”
Godoy’s teaching style differs from Garcia’s so far this year in several ways.
“This year we’ve been working on a lot of papers, last year Ms. Godoy wouldn’t really give a lot of work, but this year Mr. Garcia gives out handouts and is always explaining what the best thing to do is,” photographer Joshua Reyes said.
As the new advisor, Garcia believes yearbook needs to be a form of documenting the history of students’ lives. To do this efficiently, the yearbook staff members would have to have a mindset of creating for now and the future.
“More importantly it serves as a history book. One of the things I tell students, is the type of writing and selections they’re doing, and [the] choosing [of] certain photographs, is that they’re writing and they’re selecting images for two different time periods: for June, or May and then for twenty years from May as well,” Garcia said.
During the school year, Garcia wants to focus on impacting the staff through yearbook. By running a class with not only a family atmosphere, which many students enjoy about yearbook, but also by teaching his students important skills, Garcia is accomplishing just that.
“During the school year, I’m hoping that it most affects the students that are creating it. So for the short term, it’s about the staff, it’s about getting them to understand the importance of good layout and design,” Garcia said.
Reyes believes connections throughout the school are important for yearbook. For example, connections with other clubs or sports are helpful to the yearbook staff.
“I think it’s important to have connections in yearbook. If someone in yearbook is in football, that would be a good connection, also if we had someone from Associated Student Body. So it’s a good connection with other programs, clubs, and organizations around school that’s in yearbook,” Reyes said.
A big difference between how yearbook was run last year and how it will be run this year is the skills focused on during class. Zaballa thinks BVH will have to wait to see how yearbook is managed this year.
“I feel like it’s going to be a good year, it’s going to be a good year to begin the precedent for a more professional type of journalism in the yearbook class,“ Zaballa said.