Senator Square: A pandemic looms; a yearbook’s deadline ticks closer

CHS 2020 Carneta staff discussing the yearbook before the COVID-19 hit

CHS 2020 Carneta staff discussing the yearbook before the COVID-19 hit

Editor’s Note: Quinn-Davis is adviser for the Carneta yearbook. She also teaches Honors American Literature and English IV. Before jumping into teaching, Quinn-Davis worked many years at The Nevada Appeal as city government reporter, columnist, and city editor. She was also editor of The Nevada Appeal and previously was editor of The Daily Democrat newspaper in Woodland, Calif.

The thoughts trickled in a few weeks ago. “Hmm,” I thought. “Spring sports are canceled. How weird is that? What must the CHS coaches be thinking, the kids, particularly the seniors who were so looking forward to this time, their last time, to run the bases or run the track as high school students? Weird.” And then, literally as I drifted off to sleep, “OH, MY GOD, SPRING SPORTS ARE CANCELLED!”

I have been the very proud adviser of the CHS Carneta yearbook for a number of years. And that panic button I hit those weeks ago made any past times of panic running this program seem like, well, child’s play. Anyone familiar with the world of publications knows what all this means. The staff set up the 2020 Carneta yearbook months ago. The size, the pages, the costs were determined, and the coverage had begun. So, at this time of year, if one looked at the pages so far, they would be, might I say, excellently-designed pages of football games and Winterfest, soccer and Homecoming, class photos and student features.

Then there were several still-white, very blank pages awaiting the coverage of baseball and softball, track and yes, Prom. Whew, by some miracle, the swim pages had been started.

I hung onto my composure. I calmly shared our dilemma with my executive editor, Lindsay Chowanski. And then the school was shuttered. Can I talk about what a lesser staff would do? I may know them, but I do not have them. On one of the first days, I ran into Allison Gill, Carneta photographer, editor and writer, at Mills Park, and, of course, “The Book” was the topic. And yes, Allison had already talked to co-editor Aspen Carrillo who was already interviewing students on what had happened. And Allison already had her own ideas on what and how to continue. These, by the way, are 17-18ish-year-old teenagers. And we were off. Remote we went, having staff meetings via Google Hangout, an online program where we may see and talk with each other, look at the pages of the 2020 Carneta and figure out the course. English teacher Alyssa Smith is co-teacher for one of the publications sections this year. To complicate things, Smith just returned from maternity leave when all of this happened. Despite that and going online with her other English classes, she jumped in. Already impressed with the work the staff does to produce this “Story of the CHS Year” book, circumstances were an added eye-opener.

“This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior staff has been scrambling to get coverage on this current event while mourning the loss of many major Carson High events,” Smith said. “It’s been such an eye-opening experience for me as an adviser.”

Because now, remotely, we had to include pages on this historic Coronavirus Pandemic. Our publisher, Walsworth Yearbooks, had jumped into action and was sending pages of ready-made coverage free for our use. However, I am not sure if we will need many of their pages because this Carneta staff has embraced a monumental job. From their individual homes, the staff is reaching out by text, phone and email, gathering information for stories and photos to include. Hard? Listen.

“This is my first year working on the yearbook, so this sudden roadblock has just added to an already semi-difficult class,” said Allison Gill, junior, in answering my texted questions. She is that girl in the park who already had the ideas rolling around. “I put so much time and effort into the yearbook, and to see it all kind of fall apart at the end is hard, but I am confident we can get it done.”

Two days ago, Gill said she would work on the Pandemic pages.

“The yearbook is kind of a big deal,” Gill said, “and it means a lot to me and all the other editors, so it is just hard when everything stops and suddenly you have seven days to get out almost 100 pages.”

Lindsay Chowanski, senior, is executive editor of the 2020 Carneta. How did she feel?

“Mostly shocked when I first heard about it. All these ramifications were running through my head. What we needed to change, what we needed to do, but at the same time, I was terrified because I was not sure what we would be able to do. “After a couple of days, things calmed down, and I was able to talk it out with you, Alyssa (English teacher Alyssa Smith co-teaches one of the publications sections), and our (Walsworth Yearbooks) rep Natasha (Volpe), and now that we have a plan, I feel confident.”

Chowanski has not taken her arduous task lightly. She feels the book, the coverage, the turnout deeply.

“The hardest decision was cutting some sports that we were not able to cover because in a way I feel like I am letting those students down, but there are times where you do not have another choice,” Chowanski said.

Julia Nolan, editor and a sophomore at CHS could not get over how quickly things changed.

“We worked really hard on the yearbook with pictures, stories and design,” she said. “One of my first thoughts when spring sports got postponed was how would we get them in the yearbook, how would they be represented, and when school got cancelled, I knew it would be even harder to get the book out on time.”

The coverage, the physical presence of this 2020 Carneta, is historic. It is on the scale of covering The Great Depression, 9/11, the March on Birmingham. And we are doing it.

“It is stressful,” Chowanski said, reflecting on this book, “but when is there a deadline not to be stressed about as an editor? We have the information in front of us, we just need to know how to put it down into words for the world to read about. Getting accurate information is what is important, so future generations may know what happened.”

I thought I would have to think of some stirring way to end this column. But I guess Lindsay said it already. We will be finished in time...that is in about a week or so. Order the 2020 Carneta by going online to, find Carson High School’s link and order yours now.


According to CHS Dean of Students Mary Anne Weaver, “I am so appreciative of the great efforts our cafeteria ladies are putting forth to serve our kids during this time. They are here every day making and packing lunches and breakfasts for over 1000 kids, and then they stand outside in front of the school to hand deliver these meals, no matter the weather, with a friendly smile and a wish of good health. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make lunches for the administrators and secretaries. These actions confirm CHS continues to be a great place to work. Who would not want to be a Senator? My shout-out is for all of the following ladies at the Central Kitchen: Robin Cunningham, Trini Guerra, Wendy McConnell, and Allison McCready. At the CHS: Angie Charles, Leslie Cox, Jane Best, Olivia Gomez, Sue Bond, and Josephine "Jo" Adragena-Hensley.


Mary Anne Weaver, CHS Dean of Students, said, “Our fabulous para-professionals have been working tirelessly throughout the school year, and even more so these last few weeks: Copying, sorting, calling, transcribing, you name it; they have stepped up to make sure all students have been able to access their education, and all of their hard work is appreciated more than they will ever know.”


According to CHS Social Studies teacher Angila Golik, “It was such a weird feeling today driving by the high school before digital school started today; I am remaining hopeful.” Though it is impossible to step into the shoes of another, the community can imagine what it must be like for a teacher to sit at home all day and conduct class via laptop. Golik said about her experience, “My first class Google Hangout went well, but my seniors have so many questions, yet they were happy to see me.” Golik then added, “Good luck to all my colleagues today and this week, navigating the new world in which we live.”


The Carson City Craft Fair is accepting applications for new vendors. Those interested may apply online at Look to the left side of the screen under Quick Links and click on CHS Holiday Craft Fair. Interested vendors may also call Cathy Barbie at 775-882-8109. Barbie said, “The show is juried, and we will be meeting at the end of March to approve applications.” For those individuals who assisted in November, Senior Scholarships are due to the CHS Guidance Office.


GNCU is awarding up to $60,000 in scholarships to qualifying students. Since 2000, GNCU has helped more than 320 students Live Greater by awarding more than $429,000 in scholarships. The 2020 Scholarship Program is now accepting applications through March 27. Scholarships are available in two different categories: Twenty-five $2,000 scholarships for students age 24 or younger at the time of application, who are a Greater Nevada member, or the child, spouse, or parent of a Greater Nevada member, and five $2,000 scholarships for students age 25 or older at the time of application, who are a Greater Nevada member with a valid account number. Scholarship winners are selected based on financial need, academic performance, community involvement and educational and professional goals. The scholarships may be used for tuition, course registration, special classes or laboratory fees, room and board, textbooks and class materials as part of undergraduate, technical or trade school education. Scholarship applications need to be postmarked, submitted electronically, or hand delivered to a branch no later than 5:30 p.m. April 30. CHS seniors may also drop them off at the Attendance or Guidance Office no later than 1 p.m. April 30.


And the hope continues. The community-wide Annual Father-Daughter Ball, an event for all ages at CHS, and the 2020 Senior Prom are not canceled; they are still just on hold. StuCo, Student Council, and Judicial Board are working on a plan to bring some celebration to CHS seniors in the form of Prom Royalty Candidates. They will tally the candidates from previous voting, and StuCo is working on something special for these candidates to be highlighted, and then seniors will vote on the 2020 King and Queen. Please email CHS Social Studies teacher Angila Golik at for more information on the dance, and email CHS Leadership teacher Ann Britt at for more information on the prom.


CHS Mathematics teacher Elena Glenn said, “I would like to nominate Eduardo Hernandez to be the Student of the Week; he is very polite, humble and unassuming.” Each week, administrators, faculty, and staff are free to nominate a Student of the Week at any grade level. Glenn also said about Eduardo “He always comes to class prepared and willing to challenge himself and others because he is a deep thinker, does not leave any questions unanswered, and takes each concept to a higher level; Eduardo, a member of Future Farmers of America, is taking Honors Algebra II and Advanced Placement Environmental Science as a sophomore, and he participates in Track and Field as a long distance Cross Country runner. Congratulations to Eduardo Hernandez.

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment