Parkland survivors will chronicle a painful, personal experience in the school’s yearbook
(CNN) — The resilience of the students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is obvious. They’ve resumed classes, and their lives, on a campus where 17 of their fellow students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting less than two months ago.
And now, they’ll turn what’s normally a chronicle of high school life — a yearbook — into a testament to pain and perseverance.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ yearbook is called Aerie. In the 2018 edition, its staff will weave a powerful tale of the school community’s strength and resolve.
“We’re still here. We still have games going on. We’re still making the yearbook. There’s still going to be prom,” yearbook adviser Sarah Lerner said in a blog post for Walsworth Yearbooks, which will sell Aerie online for the first time. “We’re a very strong community and we’re not letting this stop us.”
Lerner said at first she was hesitant to share the upcoming yearbook with the larger educational community because there are student pictures and personal stories in it. But school officials ultimately decided that opening up the yearbook to people outside MSD would let them see how much pride the students have in their school.
“I hope people see how hard the kids have worked and how much love has gone into this book,” Lerner said. “I hope that they see all of the wonderful things that we do here, before the (shooting) and since.”
Aerie will include coverage of the shooting, pictures from vigils and memorials, a story on students dyeing their hair in honor of the victims, pieces on the surviving students’ political activism and highlights from the week they returned to the school.
In a special section, each of the mass shooting’s 17 victims will be profiled.
“We have a story to tell and it’s our story. No one else will tell it better than we will, because we lived it,” Lerner said.
All proceeds from yearbooks sold through Walsworth will go to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims Fund, she said.
It’s not unheard of for a school yearbook to be available for sale to other schools. Aerie has won national awards and is widely distributed to other top high schools, Lerner said. It’s also been a yearbook gallery sample for the past 15 years and continues to be displayed at national journalism conferences.
After an outpouring of support from other schools, Marjory Stoneman Douglas officials made the decision to make the yearbook available through Walsworth’s site. It will be only available to yearbook staff at other schools, and limited to one copy per school.
Alex Blackwell, vice president of marketing and communications for Walsworth Yearbooks, said that every school with a store on Walsworth’s website can sell its yearbook.
Correction: This story has been updated to say that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School yearbook will not be made available to the general public — only to yearbook staff at other schools. All proceeds from its sale will go to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims Fund.
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