As a former yearbook adviser, I get a little nostalgic this time of the year. It’s deadline time and across the country high school staff members are pounding away at their keyboards and editors and advisers are proofing the last spread before hitting submit.
I once had the opportunity to advise a staff in a brand new high school. Their first task was to name the yearbook. That’s no easy job. A yearbook’s name must reflect the present, withstand the future and become a household word.
I don’t know a yearbook with a more apropos name than that of Louisiana State University. Since 1900 LSU students have been buying a yearbook entitled Gumbo. The name inspires a little bit of spice, nice complementary ingredients, and plenty of variety. And of course, gumbo gets better with age. The name reflects the culture of Louisiana and its people. The second best yearbook name has to be that of Tulane University in New Orleans. Their book is called Jambalaya and the name works for all the same reasons that Gumbo does. But take note, Tulane published its first Jambalaya in 1896. Could Jambalaya have inspired Gumbo? Yearbook joke.
I am a little surprised that a high school in South Dakota named its yearbook Gumbo. French explorers, maybe? My high school yearbook’s name wasn’t that original. The Panther was named after the mascot. Needless to say, there aren’t any “real” panthers in Pascagoula anymore. My college yearbook from University of Southern Mississippi was The Southerner – not too original, but a fitting name that has stood the test of time.
I’ll bet all you remember the name of your high school yearbook – I’d love to see if any are as clever as Gumbo!