Once upon a time, yearbooks served as America’s collegiate scrapbooks, the cradle of institutional memories created by students for students. A gem for historians and alumni alike, FLC yearbooks show us how we were back in the day, and who we hoped to become both as a school and as individuals. These memories and dreams are accessible for the price of an afternoon’s perusal, and a pair of dusty thumbs.
Records reveal that FLC's yearbook tradition lasted only 30 years. Upon some dedicated digging through the archives, the oldest book dates to the 1937 Cadet, a heavily embossed, faux leather tome intended to convey academic authority. When opened, the aroma of time emerges with smells of antique vanilla, cedar chests, and oak roll-top desks. But the formality is deceptive, thanks to the determined spirit of students to subvert the system, no matter the era.
Take, for instance, a montage of fuzzy photographs featuring kissing couples, scantily clad lads and ladies, including a young woman dressed in trousers labeled “hell-cat.” In later volumes, women are shown wearing men’s plaid shirts as dresses, accessorized with mismatched bobby socks. Turns out Durango has always been renowned for its fashion statements.
In the 1960s, the Cadet transformed from a skinny, stapled softcover into a handsome, bound annual called the Katzima, translated as “enchanted mesa” in Keresan (Acoma). The 1966 volume introduces the debut of Hozhoni Days and the original bed races that made a Snowdown revival in 2019.
The final Katzima appeared in 1978, and FLC wouldn’t celebrate another annual till 2019 with the production of an award-winning video short called “Yearbook” found on FLC’s YouTube channel. Perhaps someday a group of FLC students will resurrect the art of these vintage relics. Till then, so long, dusty thumbs.