With school cancellations being the latest effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coral Gables Senior High students and staff have had to adjust themselves to all aspects of distance learning. Some classes have seen a struggle with the transition to online school, but Gables’ student news sources have met challenges head-on. Despite being physical publications, the highlights and Cavaleon teams have been putting in their maximum effort to continue production so that Cavaliers can enjoy what makes school news special.
Gables’ very own magazine production class, highlights, spends months working on issues. They write stories and feature students with unique tales to tell. Once they finalize an edition, it gets printed and copies are handed out to students at lunch. Staff writers and editors alike get to proudly share the fruits of their work with other students. Unfortunately, being at home from quarantine has created difficulties in this area.
Now that schools are shut down and students have been encouraged to self-quarantine, highlights has had to work around not being able to produce physical copies of their magazines. Instead, they have transitioned to using a virtual medium as the new method of sharing their issues. Students can now visit a special website where they can access all magazines published by the journalism class in the last four years of the publication’s history. They have been advertising their publication through social media as well.
“It has been difficult not being able to interact with the staff, but everyone has been very cooperative and on top of their work so things are running as smoothly as possible. Thankfully we have a lot of creative people on the staff and we were able to come up with some really interactive ways to promote Issue Five such as videos and polls,” junior Alexandra Torres.
The highlights team definitely experienced some hardships since they first learned that school had been canceled for weeks on end. Thousands of printed copies of Issue Five had arrived when students had already been sent home indefinitely, and there was no way to share them. In spite of this, the team persevered. Ms. Gonzalez, the sponsor, is currently holding on to those copies and plans to distribute them in the event that Cavaliers return for real-life classes. Meanwhile, the publication has maintained its driven attitude and has focused on preparing for the release of issue six as they work on their latest stories.
In a similarly novel situation, one might find the Cavaleon. This publication produces Gables’ annual yearbook. Obviously, it,too, has had to adapt to the lack of in-class opportunities for members to work together. Working as a team was one of their most valued assets, and has also been hindered. Thankfully these Cavaliers have stuck to the Gables work ethic and found unique ways of carrying on with their usual operations. They have especially leaned on technology to keep up working on the 2019-2020 book for all those who purchased one.
Although class time is no longer an option for taking photos, interviewing or brainstorming, the yearbook members have confidently sustained their writing with other tools. Zoom has been employed as the most efficient substitute for meetings and communication. The Cavaleon also has a lot of focus on design and layout of photos and information, so this element of the publication has largely been supported by screen-sharing between different members in order to see and assess the visual aspect of the book. Overall they remain positive and focused on finishing and submitting their book, especially since they still communicate via a group chat and use the same platform as always to actually write their content.
“We do not have the class time to have meetings, conduct interviews, or take pictures. This puts a real dent in some of our later pages, especially spring sports. Now a lot of our efforts are put into scavenging for pictures and people who are willing to be interviewed over the phone and text. However, we are doing our best with zoom calls and constant texting. We are also trying to cover the global situation, changing some of our important pages to cover what we think is the most important reflection of 2020,” senior Chris Brazda.
After all the adjustments the physical publications of Gables have made, these teams have learned valuable lessons about persevering through tough times and sticking together. Regardless of all the chaos Coronavirus has brought, writers in classes have readily confronted all obstacles and overcome them with grace. Showing the stability that they have kept up just illustrates the power that Gables students have when they focus on a goal. Hopefully, the COVID-19 crisis will be solved soon so that these publications can carry on with their writing without any more road bumps for the remainder of 2020.