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‘Twas the Night Before Deadline

image of an alarm clock surrounded by Christmas decorations

'Twas the night before deadline, when all through the staff,

Laptops were whirring, not even a laugh.

The pages were laid out on tables with care,

In hopes we’d make deadlines which soon would be there.

The photographers were nestled all snug in their chairs,

While visions of perfect shots reflected their flair.

The editors in their sweatshirts, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long editing chat.

When out in the hallway there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the class door I flew like a flash,

Threw open the door and fell in a mass.

The fluorescent lights twinkled on hall lockers and floor,

And gave a luster of midday to objects galore.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But the principal and the publisher, with a sleigh full of cheer.

The little old publisher was lively and quick,

I knew at that moment it must be Saint Nick.

More rapid than eagles he summoned his gang,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now, Copy! Now, De-sign! Now, Layout and Proofing!

On, Photography! On, Editing! On, Captioning, Get Choosing!

To the top of the page! To the top of them all!

Now insert! Set the theme! Set the theme all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When staff faced obstacles, they looked to the Style Guide!

So up to the deadline-the yearbook staff members flew,

To a sleigh full of yearbook pages, and the little publisher, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the room,

The prancing and pawing of each little zoom.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Finished page spreads flew by and came in with a bound.

He was plastered with spreads, from his head to his boot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with printer's ink and soot.

A bundle of yearbooks he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a librarian with lots to unpack!

His eyes—how they twinkled! his glasses were smudgy!!

His cheeks were bright red, but he wasn’t too fussy!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the knowledge he shared, we gleefully hold!

The stump of a pencil he clenched in his teeth,

While layout designs circled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a small rounded belly

That shook with approval, like a jar full of jelly.

He was happy with our page spreads, a right jolly old elf,

And we laughed when we saw him, in spite of ourselves;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

Pulling completed page spreads; then turned with a jerk,

Signaling a successful deadline was met, 

He gave a nod, and straight down the hallway, he fled. 

He leapt to his sleigh, to his gang gave the whistle,

And away he then flew; the principal did not bristle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out our sight—

“Happy Deadline to all; you did quite alright!”

With special inspirational thanks to Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit From St. Nicholas, published anonymously December 23, 1823 in the Sentinel, Troy, NY

Former yearbook advisor, Lucy McHugh

Contributor: Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing from a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former visual art teacher and yearbook adviser. She received a Bachelors of Science in Art from Columbia College in Columbia, SC, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000, and in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy enjoys her family, making art and gardening.

Editor, Donna Ladner

Editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and lived cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as an editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.

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