A new kind of leadership

The Anchor editors navigate an ever-changing year


Sophia McKinney

Junior Hope Reynolds and seniors Mikayla Woods and Jessica Lemons work during a production night. They like to use these nights to bond with each other and the staff.

It all started last spring when the upcoming editors of the SHS yearbook, The Anchor, sat down with yearbook adviser Sam Hanley. They created a plan for the following year with the idea of an abnormal school year. Although they planned to the best of their abilities, they could have never predicted what the 2020-2021 school year would bring. 

Seniors on the yearbook staff have had to overcome plenty of challenges this school year ranging from finding coverage to keeping up with communication, but through all of it, they have learned more about leadership and teamwork. 

As Editor-In-Chief, Reynolds had to learn quickly what it was like to be a leader. She has learned from the start to have the mentality that if she doesn’t do it, who will? She says that she is extremely thankful for the position she has, but because it is only her second year on staff, she was “kind of thrown into” this leadership role. 

“I definitely don’t regret doing it, but I thought it was going to be more like last year, more at ease and more work time,” Reynolds said.

Managing editor Jessica Lemons and design editor Mikayla Woods  have been on staff for three years and understand Reynolds’s struggle. When it comes to problems with communication, deadlines and the overall work ethic, Lemons and Woods empathize with Reynolds because they also have to tackle all of the obstacles that come along with this unusual school year. 

“You have to keep working through the hard times because it is a struggle,” Lemons said. “But if you push through, it is definitely worth it.” 

The editors knew that creating a 272-page book given the lack of school activities this year would be an issue. In response, the biggest change they made was making the book a fall-delivery book, which pushed their deadline to the end of the year allowing them to cover spring sports and commencement.They also decided to focus on more personality profiles and capturing student life activities.

This year, they have had to modify the way they get all of their coverage too. Hanley says they are currently taking Instagram direct-message sources and doing whatever they can to get  the amount of information that they need. Gathering information, he says, has been a daunting task.

“We are talking (about) thousands of sources which is impossible to get in a year like this,” Hanley said. 

Along with the struggle of finding coverage, staffers aren’t able to have the typical yearbook experience. Reynolds says that it makes her sad to see that the first-year members have not yet seen what yearbook looks like in a normal year. 

“Yearbook is supposed to be a fun class that you go and enjoy,” Reynolds said. “And this year has been really hard.”

Woods says towards the middle of the year she lost all of her excitement and motivation, but she plans on getting back to where she started at the beginning of the year. Along with that, she thinks that going back to the classroom four days a week after spring break will help her love for design grow stronger than ever before. 

Reynolds says that even over the last month or so, she has felt the yearbook staff become closer and looks forward to what this new change will bring. 

 “I think since we are going back to four days a week, things will get a lot better because it is so much more enjoyable when we are in Hanley’s room and in the lab,” Reynolds said. “But overall, I think the lack of fun is what is causing the problem with motivation.”

Although there is still much to be done, Reynolds says that the fun will come back and she looks forward to what the end of the year and next year will bring. She also says she has personal goals of learning more about the “ins and outs of yearbook,” and journalism as a whole and what it takes to be a leader in a normal year. Lemons has enjoyed her leadership role on the yearbook staff so much that she plans on keeping it in her future. 

“At the beginning of my sophomore year is when I joined it was more than an elective because I wanted to be a part of a team,” Lemons said. “But now that I have been a part of it for so long, I want writing to be a part of my future.”

With a sudden shift at the beginning of the school year, the leaders of the yearbook still kept their heads high. With this attitude, they’ve learned that being a leader is much more than telling people what to do, it’s how they bring people together. 

“I want each person to make their mark and be a part of this,” Lemons said. “And over the years, you can see each year the marks from past students on the yearbooks, and that is just so cool to see.”