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The original memory book

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It's something many high school students wait for each spring, a reminder of the year they're finishing up in school -- their yearbook.

The Detroit Lakes' DeLakonian has been around since 1926, but that wasn't necessarily the issue of a remembrance book for the seniors.

According to files at the Becker County Historical Society, compiled by high school intern Alli Meyer, the Class of 1893 first published a book called "Footprints," a senior memory book.

"They were more of the senior memory book, and that was common then," Museum Manager Carrie Johnston said.

Much of the information the historical society has found is from a school history book written in 1977 by Mark Fihn.

For the 1926 DeLakonian, Mary Frazee served as the first editor, and history teacher Cecil C. Chase wrote a poem incorporating the title, DeLakonian (see above).

So the question is, where did the name "DeLakonian" come from?

Johnston doesn't know the answer to that question. Neither does advisor Vern Schnathorst.

"I've got no idea," he admits.

After coming out with the 1926 DeLakonian though, there was no yearbook printed for 1927. From 1933 to 1948, the DeLakonian was replaced by a senior memory book called "The Laker" and then went back to being called the DeLakonian in 1949.

The first hardback version of the DeLakonian was in 1946, when it was still called The Laker, and color photos were first used in late 1970s. The first full-color yearbook was in 2007.

One of the biggest changes Schnathorst has said in his 10 years as advisor is the use of digital cameras.

When he started as advisor in 2000, he said they maybe used 20-30 digital photos, mostly using 35-millimeter film instead.

"It would get close to deadline and the kids needed to take a bunch of photos and then they'd have to take them to White Drug and the one-hour (film developer)," he said.

Another change just over the last few years has been the layout of the yearbook. Now using the software program Photoshop, students have more and more freedom to design -- a design that is all theirs.

"I let the kids basically do all the design," Schnathorst said. "It's my way of thinking that it's their book, so let them design it."

There are a few regulations -- like yes, the freshmen class has to be included -- but for the most part the students have the freedom to make each year's memory book to their liking. And seniors do the work since it is their last book.

"The kids are getting more desktop and graphics experience," Schnathorst said as an educational benefit of the project.

Schnathorst will be handing over the duties to teacher Amy Knopf next year.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "The kids are always excited and put a lot of effort into it."