The tragedy of the 2021 Argus


photo by Michael Morrisett

ARGUS 2021

Jonathan Dumois

The Argus yearbook is full of pictures telling a great school year, but not last year.

COVID-19 upended our lives in a way we will probably never understand, in a way our descendants will never understand, and their descendants, and so on and so forth. The school year was upended with schedule changes, from remote and in-person classes meeting on separate days, to both meeting together under a shortened schedule, and back again, and so on. With a school year where half of the students never stepped foot on school grounds, there was talk of no Argus being published, a first in the rich history of our school.

However, shocking everyone, an Argus was published, and was radically different from years past.

I was in our newspaper class’ storage room, attempting to find a tripod to mount a camera on so I could experiment with editing green screen photos. I was told it might be behind the camera storage cart, so I looked back. I didn’t find it there, but I did find a box from Jostens, who publishes our school yearbooks and provides the cap and gowns for graduation. There were a bunch of these boxes hiding behind the cart, and one was opened partly. So I went in and got out one of the yearbooks. It was the yearbook from last year, the 2020-21 school year.

I knew that last year’s Argus did exist, since one day during my AP Government class I saw someone have out a copy of the yearbook. I never did get a chance to see what was inside, at least until today.

The cover sets up the mood and tone for the Argus yearbook. Normally full of decoration and color telling how we made our mark in that school year. But that was gone. Instead it was an all black cover, with a white square that had the year 2021 behind it. The words “Rockford East High School” was below.

Inside the yearbook, two pages of a collage showing some of the photos that were taken over the years went straight into the senior photos, then worked down to the freshmen and staff. After that, the senior “21” photo was shown, with a slightly smaller formation than in years past. The photo was taken in the field house rather than the main gym. 15 pages of the little afterschool extracurriculars, mainly sports teams, followed with three of the senior ads that were placed. The rest was the default insert from the yearbook publisher highlighting the year that was.

Looking through the yearbook, there was an uneven feeling I had. What was once pages showing excitement and happiness throughout the year was gone and replaced with what appears to look like a elementary school yearbook with the bare minimum. Now, to be fair, (and to my shock) Mrs. Turek was the sole person who created the yearbook last year. And without her work, we wouldn’t have an Argus to begin with. I am thankful for her efforts to have one out against all odds, and I do not want this article to criticize her for doing what she could. I just wanted to document how last year’s Argus was vastly different than in years past.

This year’s Argus will hopefully bring a return to the Argus we are all familiar with, one full of joy and pride in the school we all know and love. But when future generations take a look at the Argus’ of the past, this one will document how East battled through a very tough year.