Students vote on best yearbook quotes of the past two decades

Number one ranked yearbook quote which was in the 2017 yearbook.
Number one ranked yearbook quote which was in the 2017 yearbook.
Jeffrey Asaredanquah

   For many seniors, the yearbook quote serves as the final mic drop moment; regardless of whether the quote is original or taken from a famous figure, it serves as the student’s opportunity to leave the school on the right note. Because of this, students believe crafting final words for the school’s yearbook must be mastered down to a perfect science: creative and clever, but also concise. 

   WHS students were asked to rank 14 different yearbook quotes that date back as far as 2007, and cleverness and conciseness seemed to be the deciding factor. For example, the quote that ranked 3rd was a combination of both. In 2010 Timothy Duffey chose this quote from author Ralph Waldo Emerson:

 “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

  This Emerson quote uses a metaphor in a way that conveys a message to students to create a new and different legacy as opposed to following in the footsteps of those who came before them, and because of its important message it was ranked quite high among the other quotes. 

   “It’s talking about leaving something behind and that’s important,” senior Matthew Schuckel said. “If you live your life without creating anything that those after you will enjoy, you may not be fulfilled or happy.”   

   Focusing now on the top two quotes. The second place quote came from an unusual source, rap artist, Gucci Mane.

   “If a man does not have the sauce, then he is lost. But the same man can be lost in the sauce.”

   When ranking this quote chosen by John de Jong in 2017, students expressed a common idea that deep quotes don’t necessarily have to be serious and poetic. Although the concept is silly the clever word play is enough for some students to derive a deeper message.

   “When you think about it, it’s a smart play on words,” junior Amia Hyman said. “If a man doesn’t have something he can be lost without it, but that same man can also be lost in what he does have. That’s real.”

   Finally, the quote that was considered the best among students in the past two decades was also from a rapper and came right after De Jong’s quote in 2017:

   “How can the sky be the limit when there’s footprints on the moon?” 2017 senior Nicholas Diebold wrote.

   This quote from the rapper “Logic” follows the popularly accepted blueprint of a perfect yearbook quote. It utilizes clever metaphors and wordplay in a concise way. It also takes the motivational route as opposed to the comedic one, thus proving that in the eyes of students, motivational quotes are preferred over comedic ones.

   “There’s no limit to how far you can reach. The quote shows that mankind has made it to higher spots than what we [as students] aspire to be,” junior Austin Cranmore said.

   Although only three quotes can make the top three. There were many other quotes that won the approval of students. For example, this quote from 2007 senior Emily Naphtal:

   “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

   Students felt as though the poetic elements in this quote were not only creative, but easy to understand.

   “It’s written in a way that’s easy to read,” senior Zachary Gumbert said. “It’s a simple yet powerful message about finding the beauty within yourself.”

   Another yearbook quote that just barely made the top three was this quote from 2010 senior Jonathan Diejuste, taken from NFL coach Vince Lombardi: 

   “We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.”

   Most students agreed that this quote was both motivational and assuring.

   “It’s inspirational because it tells us that although nothing is perfect we can still chase our dreams to achieve excellence,”  junior Leeyah Dede said.

However, among students the biggest problem with this quote and the quote from Naphtal is that although the quotes were extremely motivational they were also quite lengthy.

   “It’s just way too many words for a yearbook quote,” senior TJ Dahl said. “Nobody’s trying to read all of that.”

   Although students were not asked to rank every single quote from the last decade, student responses showed a common pattern in what they consider to be a good quote. These common patterns will surely be influential to the next generation of seniors when they decide what their final words to the school will be.

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