Two Richmond students will receive a national recognition yearbook to help them start high school

Richmond High School students Izzy Stewart (left) and Lila Viselli sit with middle school teacher Rebecca Redman at Richmond Middle and High School in Richmond on Tuesday. They had worked on the middle school yearbook together. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal

RICHMOND – Students Lila Viselli and Izzy Stewart, along with former teacher Becca Redman, founded the yearbook at Richmond Middle School in a year that should go down in their own history books – and are recognized for it nationally.

The Richmond Middle School yearbook won first place in tech firm TreeRing’s Yearbook Hero Contest after being nominated by Redman for his work in relaunching the yearbook after a six-year hiatus.

At the time, Redman, now the district’s K-12 technology integrator, was a middle school English language teacher. She said it seemed like “another hat” to put on and decided to take a look after a sixth grader walked up to her and asked if the middle school had a yearbook.

Stewart and Viselli, who are now both tenth graders, decided to join the yearbook club for the 2019-2020 school year. They took over the program and worked on the yearbook until March – and then the coronavirus pandemic struck.

As the girls said, everyone had just started working together.

“It was difficult to do it (the yearbook) from home, but I was glad we did it,” said Stewart. “When we took on the role with Ms. Redman, it was a really smart decision to get middle school up and running and start from scratch.”

As the pandemic continued, Stewart and Viselli had to get creative because they couldn’t fill some pages because sports and clubs were canceled and the students were no longer in person at school.

“We had to move a few pages because we planned before it closed,” said Stewart, “so planning to fill when we closed was a mess.”

The middle school Yearbook Club is different from the high school version, where there is a class specifically reserved for yearbook work. Middle school students are tasked with taking their own photos and working on the book when they have the time.

The girls weren’t the only two working on the yearbook, but they were the main editors. Because of this, Stewart and Viselli had to take most of the photos themselves.

The Richmond Middle School yearbook is dedicated to longtime educator and coach Phil Houdlette. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal

When the pandemic broke out, they had to collect the photos and put the book together. But they found that softball and baseball were canceled and that they had never taken photos of counseling groups.

“I’ve spoken to so many mothers on Facebook,” said Redman. “They loved sharing photos with us. We love our community. In Richmond this is very pronounced, there is a very strong pride and of course the parents were willing to share materials to celebrate the children and their work. “

For the advisory groups, Rector Karl Matulis went around and took photos of each teacher’s door that formed the final cut of the yearbook. They learned after the pandemic year to prioritize their photos and get everything when they can because everything can be so unpredictable.

Although Stewart and Viselli are now in high school, Redman is still the junior yearbook advisor. She said the yearbook wouldn’t be what it is today without the help of the girls, which is why she nominated her for the award. First place award was rewarded with a $ 100 Amazon Gift Card and 10 free yearbooks.

“I didn’t think we’d get an award for that, but it feels good to be recognized for what you work for,” said Viselli.

They are not part of the high school yearbook club as they do not have time for their assessment courses but plan to join it before they graduate. The girl said she was grateful for Ms. Redman and happy with what they started.

“We’re grateful to everyone who helped, it was a great help,” said Stewart, “and I’m glad to bring her back and go to high school knowing that we helped middle school continue its yearbook years . It is a good feeling.”


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