A McHugh Interview

A Lot Goes into Being the Yearbook Adviser


Maddi Carini

Mrs. McHugh is co-advisor of both the high school yearbook, along with fellow ELA teacher Ms. Slayton, and the National Honor Society, along with Mr. Scott (pictured here during the NHS Induction Ceremony held on November 13, 2019)

Robert Tashjian, Contributor

Ms. McHugh is a veteran English teacher at Abington High School. She also teaches AP English. She has been teaching at the high school for 20 years.

She became the yearbook advisor when she was approached by students that had asked her if she would because the teacher who had been doing it was no longer here. Because Ms. McHugh loves working with students outside of the traditional classroom and because she is creative, she accepted. 

I’m working with Ms. Slayton this year, so I’m excited to mentor her through the process.

— Ms. McHugh

This is Ms. McHugh’s 3rd year advising yearbook. “Each year it gets a little bit easier,” she said. “Now that I have a comfort level, I can anticipate the schedule and do more effective planning with students to meet our deadlines successfully,” she added.

She no longer advises the yearbook alone. “I’m working with Ms. Slayton this year, so I’m excited to mentor her through the process,” Ms. McHugh said.

Ms. McHugh’s first year, as she describes it, was “hectic.” She had never done it [Yearbook] before. But she said she had “an amazing staff” and they ended up with a yearbook that they were proud of.

Being an advisor of yearbook is not her first experience. Ms. McHugh was on yearbook her sophomore year through her senior year of high school. As a senior she was assistant editor.  

Ms. McHugh said that “Technology has changed the yearbook creation process quite a bit.  When I was in high school, we did everything on paper and used physical pictures in our page layouts. This meant that we had to do all of the work at school.”

Students nowadays have the luxury of computers. Ms. McHugh said, “Now that we design pages using a website and pictures are uploaded through a portal, we can work anywhere as long as we have our computers.”

It not only makes it easier for the yearbook staff, but for Ms. McHugh as well. Doing it all on computers, she said, “helps me a great deal when I’m reviewing and editing pages before sending them to Lifetouch for printing.”

It is not all easy, though. The challenges that she faces with putting together a yearbook is meeting deadlines and ensuring that all students are represented.

Ms. McHugh’s favorite themes so far were the class of 2019’s ‘Making Waves’ theme. “I love how the cover came out,” she said.

The Class of 2020 decided on ‘Adventure is Out There!’ The other options seniors could have voted for were ‘2020: Last Look; New Horizons’ and ‘Seeing a Bright Future.’ To decide on the theme, usually the staff brainstorms a few theme ideas, and then they (Yearbook committee) ask the class to vote on which is their favorite.  

Superlatives are decided when the class gets a packet with the categories and then each person gets to vote.  Once the packets are turned in to Ms. McHugh, they have an open yearbook meeting where any member of the class who wants to help tally the votes can join.  “It takes a couple of hours, but it’s a very transparent process,” she said. 

The best part of the yearbook for most is the photos. “There are many factors that go into choosing photos.  Most of the photos are taken my yearbook staff photographers or in the case of portraits, sent to us by Lifetouch,” she said. 

“When it comes to younger years, prom, homecoming, and other sections like that, we depend on students and parents sending us pictures.  If students want to be represented in the yearbook, it’s up to them to get us those pictures,” Ms. McHugh said. 

A tip Ms. McHugh would give to anyone involved in yearbook advising in the future is,“Remember that each class is unique and the yearbook is their story, so take your cue from the students in terms of how it should flow and what it should cover.” 

Secondly, “Strive to be as inclusive as possible and make it your mission to have every student represented,” she said.

All sports and clubs/activities are represented in the yearbook, but we strive to include as many students as possible.  Again, this depends on students getting pictures to us or being willing to let our staff photographers take their pictures,” Ms. McHugh said. 

Information on yearbook is available outside Mrs. McHugh’s room in the 2nd floor English wing.