Surprise reunion at the Adviser Academy

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

Sometimes reunions with old friends happen when you least expect it.

I’m not a yearbook adviser. I didn’t come to the Adviser Academy this week expecting to sit in sessions and learn all about theme, or design trends. I’m a writer in Walsworth’s Marketing Department, so I’ve been here as an observer for the Yearbooks Blog.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed a familiar name on the list of attendees – Jason Strait, an old college buddy from my days at the University of Kansas, who was listed as the new yearbook adviser at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo.

I looked around for Jason on day one of the Academy on Monday, and was a little bummed when he didn’t arrive. But he did make it down to the Marriott on Tuesday morning, and we were both surprised when I greeted him outside the lunch room.

While Jason was surprised to see me for the first time in more than 10 years, I quickly saw why he didn’t make it to the first day of the Academy. A large, cumbersome halo cast was wrapped around the bottom of Jason’s left leg, the result of a painful compound fracture after a fall from the roof of his one-story house in May.

Despite the painful injury, Jason was determined to show his dedication to his new job. He said this week’s Academy was only the second time he’s been out of the house since his accident, but his attendance to the morning’s InDesign class was going to be a must for his first year.

Jason’s got a journalism background, several years of experience as a reporter, and pretty good perseverance skills, which were on display this week. So despite the fact that he’s brand new to the world of yearbooks and told me he has much to learn, I’m not too worried about him.

At least not with his new job as an adviser. But he does have to get that leg healed up!

Evan Blackwell, CJE
Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.