Quote outvote

The ins and outs of choosing senior quotes for the yearbook

Ruth Feng, Claire Wen

The pages of the yearbook are filled with a collection of memories from prom to rallies to Homecoming week. For seniors, it’s their last chance to leave a mark in the form of senior quotes, whether it be a message of inspiration to the younger classes or a humorous one.

Tiffany Chen is the senior editor in El Valedor in charge of baby pictures, senior photos and senior portraits. Photo by Ruth Feng.

Senior Tiffany Chen is the senior editor in El Valedor who is in charge of all senior-related tasks for this year. With the help of yearbook adviser Jay Shelton, and other section and head editors, she decides which quotes to put in the yearbook, filtering through around 500 quotes.

“The way we choose to reject the quotes is common sense,” Chen said. “Some people put in pretty obvious swear words or profanity in there.”

However, Chen recalls that only four to five submissions had profanity. Some of the submissions tried to bypass the check by having chemical elements from the periodic table spell out a certain word. In total, she had to send out emails to 15 people asking them to resubmit their quote.

Sophomore Yu Fang Tseng is an assistant to the senior section, training under Chen. She helps with everything from uploading baby pictures to preparing and filtering the senior quotes, along with splitting them between the pages.

“Not all quotes about how school is bad [are] taken out,” Tseng said. “We only take out the ones that [don’t] represent MVHS or El Valedor values.”

Another reason quotes are taken out is if multiple people submit the same one, for which Chen or Tseng will email the person and let them know. The order for accepting a duplicate is first come first serve.

“A lot of people put Winnie the Pooh quotes,” Tseng said. “Like you know how Winnie the Pooh is pretty wholesome … Edna [from the Incredibles] is also a popular one.”

One pair of duplicate quotes actually arrived within five minutes of each other. On a color-coded spreadsheet, Chen pulled out the timestamps of the submitted quotes. Sure enough, the quotes were five minutes apart, both submitted at the last minute. Sorting through 500 submissions may sound like tedious work, but Chen believes the people around her make the process fun.

Chen scrolls through a spreadsheet of quote submissions. Photo by Ruth Feng.

“Every time we catch a quote that sticks out to us like the elements one, I call people over and everyone comments on it,” Chen said. “Makes the process kind of fun.”

One case of rejection came from senior Cynthia Gong. Her first submission was “‘Fake hose not allowed’ – Bob the Builder.”

With Gong’s quote, Chen says, it was important to consider the context. She read it out loud repeatedly, and something didn’t sound right to her. She then had a discussion with Fang, Shelton and editor-in-chief Vanessa Lau. They collectively agreed to ask Gong to reconsider.

“We were saying it out loud and we didn’t feel it was quite right,” Chen said. “We wanted to contact her about that. Apologies to Cynthia though.”

Gong drew inspiration from a quote she saw on Reddit in a thread of old senior quotes. Her quote was based on the original, which was “‘Where the hose at’ – Bob the Builder.” She did not expect her quote to make it past the first round, but she believed it didn’t hurt to try.

“I gotta leave senior year with a bang,” Gong said.