CHS yearbook problems in the spotlight

CHS yearbook problems in the spotlight

Senior’s photo omitted from the yearbook; Class of 2017 received books weeks after graduating

CUMBERLAND – There are no answers yet as to how a graduating senior’s photo was omitted from the 2017 Cumberland High School yearbook, but representatives for the yearbook company say they’re working with the School Department to ensure it won’t happen again.

An omitted student photo, typos and an error with the cover of last school year’s CHS yearbook were some of Cumberland residents’ concerns. The cover mistake resulted in the delayed delivery of the yearbooks, which arrived in July, after the Class of 2017 graduated, local parent AnnaMaria Abrams said.

The hardcover book costs $78.

Last year’s books were all reprinted at the yearbook company’s expense, but they did not include the senior photo of Allison Abrams.

“She was so distraught that she wasn’t even in her own yearbook,” AnnaMaria said of her daughter. She added that Allison was not a member of any sports teams or clubs that have dedicated pages in the book.

The only place AnnaMaria knew that her daughter appeared was in the senior class photo, where all students are pictured together.

“I still look back at my high school yearbook at times, and I look at friends that I’ve had,” AnnaMaria said, adding that her daughter’s classmates won’t be able to look back years from now and see Allison in the yearbook.

The School Department and H&I Photography, a company partnering with Gene Hutnak Photography, will be meeting to discuss the yearbook development and printing process going forward, said Supt. Bob Mitchell and Bob DiCaprio, of H&I.

Asked where responsibility lies for individual senior portrait pages, Mitchell said, “That’s at the heart of the issue.”

Mitchell said there is a group of students who design pages for the yearbook, working under the direction of CHS faculty, but he did not go into detail about which pages those students lay out. Mitchell said he had been assured the CHS yearbook group has an extensive proofing process, because they are concerned about not making these mistakes.

“They want to make sure that they get it right,” he said.

Mitchell said he was not in a position to place blame, and said a meeting was scheduled between school administration and the yearbook company to talk about making sure the mistakes don’t happen again.

Mitchell said yearbooks are historical documents, and serve many purposes in high schools. He called the student’s experience a “heartbreaking situation,” but said, “all we can do is focus on the future.”

Bob DiCaprio of H&I Photography said the company has had a great relationship with the Cumberland school district, and said what happened to Abrams was unfortunate. He said the company would work with the school administration to ensure the same issues aren’t repeated.

Mitchell also said that before yearbooks were reprinted, the wording on the cover that was supposed to read “Cumberland High School” instead displayed a “unique font” that “didn’t make sense.”

AnnaMaria said the wording looked similar to Chinese symbols.

Discussions about what happened to the cover will also be part of the meetings between school administration and the yearbook company, DiCaprio said. He explained that when the decision was made to reprint the yearbooks with a corrected cover, H&I Photography paid for the reprint expenses.

“We really need to resolve these questions with the school administration, most importantly,” DiCaprio said.

AnnaMaria said a paperback supplement, which cost about $18, was delivered to students when they received the reprinted hardcover yearbooks. In that supplement are photos from spring sports and events, and her daughter’s senior portrait.

She, like School Committee Chairman Raymond Salvatore, noted that students don’t hang onto paper supplements like they do the yearbook itself.

Salvatore spoke of the cover mistake, and said, “My opinion is that the yearbook company is responsible for this.”

Annamaria said that while Allison was offered a reprinted, hardcover yearbook with her senior portrait at no cost, Allison’s new copy is beside the point.

“That’s not customer service,” AnnaMaria said.

“It’s just a shame … it will never be fixed,” she said.