An Interview with the Breck Mustang Yearbook Edition 78 Editors

With the Breck School Mustang 2021 Edition #78 Yearbook sent off to be printed, we sat down with Ayla J. ’21 and Shaniya N. ’21 to have them share their experience as this year’s yearbook editors. 

Communications: Ayla and Shaniya, tell us about yourselves?

Ayla: My name is Ayla, and I’ve been at Breck since preschool (so about 14 years). I am dance captain and yearbook editor as well as involved in various other clubs at Breck. I am one of four children. My two younger siblings Julius (freshmen) and Gloria (4th grade), are also current students at Breck. I have been dancing for many years and want to continue dancing in college. I plan to major in criminology on a pre-law track. Where I end up committing to college is still to be determined.

Shaniya: My name is Shaniya, and I’ve been at Breck since 6th grade. I’ve been a competitive swimmer since I was 6 years old, swim captain for Breck Girls Swim and Dive, and I am also involved in many other Breck clubs. I have a younger brother named Miles (8th grade) here at Breck. I’m going to continue my education at Lafayette College, where I will be swimming, and I plan to study International Relations with a minor in Health Care and Society. 

Communications: How long have you been a part of the yearbook team?

Ayla: I started as a lower school photographer my sophomore year, then I was a section head for middle school as a junior, and now I am an Editor my senior year! 

Shaniya: I joined yearbook last year as a junior, and by a surprise twist of fate, I became Editor my senior year! 

Communications: What was your vision for this year’s edition of the Breck Mustang?

Ayla: I knew that I didn’t want a book centered around the pandemic, even though some people thought it should be since it’s such an influential part of the time we are in now. I believe the pandemic is something that nobody will forget, and personally, I didn’t need to be reminded of it every time I dug up my senior yearbook. We wanted to focus on not just COVID-19 but instead how we as a community face it. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, so that’s all I will say for now. 

Shaniya: I wanted to give people a “normal” yearbook. Normal in the sense that people will look back at the yearbook and remember all the good times we had despite all that took place. When I open the yearbook, I want to see the best times of my year preserved in its pages. I think it’s going to be really good this year. I’m excited to see the end product. ’

Communications: How did you motivate your yearbook staff this year?

Ayla: I won’t lie, this year was challenging as far as motivation. With the initial hybrid learning style, on top of the stress of school, getting quality content for the book was near impossible. To get photos and stories we needed to fill the book, we relied on crowdsourcing this year, which I think turned out better than any photos we could have taken had the pandemic not been a thing. We got to see into people’s lives outside of school, and I think it made for a super unique book. 

Shaniya: I would say it was kind of difficult. People were busy. The pandemic definitely made it worse because not everyone on the staff was always at school. It was a little bit of a struggle to reach out to the staff sometimes. So, as Ayla said, we used crowdsourcing to get content for the yearbook. However, I do think that the people who were invested really wanted to make a good yearbook for this year, and you can tell their dedication by what the end product looks like. 

Communications: What did you enjoy most about working on the yearbook?

Ayla: Designing the cover was by far my favorite part of the process. I see myself as an artistic person, so being able to create something so meaningful within the community was super rewarding, and in my opinion, I think this may be the best yearbook cover yet! 

Shaniya: For me, I loved doing the Senior Section. While mildly stressful, it was nice to look back at my classmates and see how far we’ve come as a grade. I especially like looking at funny quotes and our cute baby pictures. It can be sad, but we welcome the feeling of nostalgia. 

Communications: What would you like the Breck community to know about this year’s Breck Mustang?

Ayla: This year was not like other years. The time and dedication the yearbook team and we as editors put in was more than any years in the past. Not only were we working with COVID-19 restrictions/cohorts, but we also adopted an entirely new layout to the yearbook. A layout with more story-based pages and more words to go along with them to really capture the story of the Breck community in more than just pictures. 

Shaniya: We really tried to change up the yearbook for this year to give the Breck community something new and special. The team put so much work into it. We literally worked 24/7 to meet deadlines, add last-minute pictures, and add polls. This year, we had a lot more student input, and so this year's yearbook is definitely a book that fully encompasses the spirit of the Breck community. 

Communications: When will Volume 78 arrive for students to pick up?

Ayla, Shaniya, and Ms. Markert: The Jostens plant in Kansas is scheduled to ship our books on May 8.  We’ll distribute them before the end of the school year, but as of right now, we don’t know the exact date that will happen. We will let the community know when the date is finalized.

More News

Acknowledging 9/11 — 20 Year Anniversary

Later this week will be the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City, a significant and traumatic event for Americans and people around the world. Melody Fox Ahmed, the Director for Global Studies at the National Cathedral School invites educators to use the occasion for both remembrance and education.

Read More about Acknowledging 9/11 — 20 Year Anniversary