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Remember when: Yearbooks

Remember when: Yearbooks

Monday, August 31, 2020

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. 

1930s-1950s 

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. 

1960s-1970s

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. 

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