Yearbook changes policy on senior quotes

Seniors are now asked to respond to specific prompts. A student petition has been filed requesting a return to the previous policy.

Prem Chandrasekar, Managing Editor

Naperville Central’s Flight yearbook staff recently changed its senior quote policy for the upcoming 2020 volume.

Seniors must now fill out a Google Form with responses to four questions created by the yearbook staff. One of those responses will be published as their senior quote. 

“We came up with questions that were more school-based but could be answered with things that were outside of the school as well, just so there were different options,” editor-in-chief Ashley Bowling said. 

Since 2015, seniors have been able to submit anything as a senior quote as long as it was appropriate. There were no senior quotes prior to that.

Flight’s change in policy was precipitated by many factors.

“We have a small staff this year, and the amount of time that it takes to ensure that all of those quotes are appropriate is the time that our staff just doesn’t have,” adviser Nicole Weiss said. “There have also been several instances in the past year of other schools having their yearbooks held from distribution because of an inappropriate senior quote or picture and we’d like to get books out before senior graduation.”

Last year, about a quarter of the quotes submitted by seniors were considered inappropriate.

“We have to go through each individual senior quote and have it looked at by at least four teachers, including both of our advisers and an outside teacher, just so we can get as many eyes as we can on there,” Bowling said. “It normally takes two to three months to go through [all] of the quotes.”

The recent change was met with opposition from seniors, who say that the new format limits their expression.

“Senior quotes let people express their personalities and this [format] isn’t letting people do that,” senior Kenny Huffstetter said. 

In response, some students have signed a petition calling for Flight to revert back to its policy from last year.

Senior Elizabeth Ducharme helped write the petition. 

“[The petition] was reflective of what we felt was a larger social opinion on behalf of the seniors that were generally disappointed by the new process and mad that quotes are just going away suddenly without any warning or input from seniors,” Ducharme said. “We wanted our voices to be heard as a collective class of 2020 and see if there was anything that could be done.”

The petition currently has just under 400 signatures by students from all four grades.

Both Bowling and Weiss acknowledge that the students have the freedom to petition anything that they want to. However, they point out that the yearbook staff ultimately has the final say in senior quotes.

“The district puts the control of certain aspects of the book like senior quotes in the hands of the schools,” Weiss said.

As of Nov. 26, only 19 people have responded to the Google Forms survey to submit senior quotes. In order to have senior quotes this year, more than half of the graduating class has to fill out the survey by Dec. 11.