On June 2, the staff of El Camino released its 99th edition of the Loyola yearbook, a publication created to highlight the accomplishments and activities of student body, clubs, athletic teams and faculty.
The theme of this year’s publication was “Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Inspired by Loyola’s 150th anniversary, El Camino took a historical approach to its style, attempting to see where Loyola fits into the context of the greater Los Angeles area from the yearbook’s beginnings until the present.
Dr. John Vella ’93, adviser for the yearbook, said, “We wanted to analyze the part of the Grad-at-Grad that is developing our students as leaders. A main goal we emphasize in the book is the way in which Loyola forms and shapes these young men to being tomorrow’s leaders. That was the thematic focus for us.”
El Camino as a publication has changed since its formation in 1917 was previously called El Padre when the school shared its campus with Loyola University. It became El Camino in the 1930s. Looking back to old publications of the yearbook, Dr. Vella said, “We have been doing a lot more research into the El Camino archives and pulling out pictures of old buildings and students from that era. We even wanted to recreate some iconic pictures from then.”
One different process in crafting the book is the layout process. In the past, each edition was hand-made, having each article physically laid out on a page and sent to a publisher. However, modern technology has provided a digital platform to create the yearbook in a more efficient and organized manner.
Junior Luke McKenna, a sports editor for El Camino, said, “Dr. Vella, along with Mr. [David] Roberts, helped us select much of the artistic design in the book. Dr. Vella and his knowledge of the new software we had this year also helped us with all of the technical parts of building the book.”
For Dr. Vella, the most significant difference between previous editions and current volumes is the diversity of topics covered. He said, “You look back at older volumes, and there were just a handful of clubs. Classes were much smaller, and the school was just not as integrated with Los Angeles compared to now. There is so much going on at this school that is just not seen in previous editions.”
However, Dr. Vella notes that the constants among all editions of the yearbook are Loyola Hall and Rupert Hall. Aside from the banners erected to celebrate the 150th celebration, he asserts that the architecture of the buildings has created a link between the past and the present.
Likewise, one of the biggest sections in the yearbook was a feature on coach and counselor Steven Grady ’63; editors insist that the feature allowed the Cubs to learn about a cornerstone in Loyola athletics and counseling as well as connect to Loyola’s past.
The staff consists of 25 writers and 20 photographers who work throughout the school year to produce the best edition possible. The staff strives to make each edition exciting, implementing modern social themes and activities to capture the youth.
McKenna said, “Within the section, we managed to run everything very punctually, so we never had to worry about missing a deadline. In the larger book, I was pleased with the addition of new, causal pages like the social media page.”
Senior Jorge Ulloa, the executive photography editor, extols Dr. Vella and Roberts for their help and guidance in the creation of El Camino. “Both Dr. Vella and Mr. Roberts have been central to the process, keeping us on task, listening to our ideas, and expanding the yearbook as much as they can.”
Dr. Vella took charge of the yearbook in the fall of 2009 and stepped down as the adviser for next year’s publication, which will be headed by Roberts. “We try to do our best to capture what it us like to be a student at Loyola. We love hearing people say that we captured what truly makes this place special,” said Vella.