Will Fremont High School return to its old ‘Flame’ yearbook?


Howard Ruffner

OLD FLAMES: When Fremont was one large high school, it put out yearbooks called “Flame,” some of which are at the bottom of the stack above. Small schools have been less consistent in their yearbook production. Media Academy hasn’t published a yearbook since 2009.

Most students surveyed want one yearbook when the three academies combine into one school next year.

Administrators say they have not made plans of what to do with classes such as yearbook, which currently is a class the individual schools must decide whether to offer.

In a Green & Gold survey of 50 students from the Media, Mandela and College Preparatory & Architecture academies, 76 percent said they want one yearbook next year.

“I prefer one yearbook for the whole school because it is going to [be] less work,” said Mandela Academy freshman Jesus Zarate.

Students were also asked if they would like to join yearbook next year. About one third said they would join the class.

One student who did not provide a name, would join yearbook if it were one class for all three academies “because people will get to know each other even if they aren’t from the same school.”

Howard Ruffner, who teaches yearbook as an after-school class at Media Academy, does not know how the changes will affect his class or his teaching position.

“The school is in a transition. I can’t decide [now] whether I would teach yearbook or not,” he said.

The last time a yearbook at Media Academy was published was 2009. Although yearbook was a class for the last two years, students did not get their work finished, Ruffner explained.

However, current members are optimistic that Media Academy will put out a book this year.

“The progress of the yearbook for this year … would be like a 40 percent,” said yearbook member Pearl Joy Balagot.

When Fremont was one big high school, it had a strong yearbook tradition. For example, in 1985, the yearbook, known as “Flame,” had 208 pages. In 1979, the school produced a 205-page book.

One big difference between the old Fremont and the new school is that freshmen will be separated and the school will have two “colleges” — a science college and a humanities college.

Among other decisions that are left to be made, the Fremont staff has not yet decided how many yearbooks or yearbook classes there will be or if freshmen would have their own book.

No matter what happens with the classes, Ruffner hopes students in the new school keep creating yearbooks.

“It gives students a reflection to look back as they get older and share it with family, children and friends,” he said.