STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — When looking back on your high school years, one of the first things you do is pull out the old yearbooks. These annual publications allow you to remember fashion trends, catchphrases, and pieces of personal history that helped shape who you are.
Yearbooks also give you a chance to show the next generation how campuses have changed and even how their own parents and grandparents have uh, improved, like fine wine.
But not everyone has a yearbook that allows them to reflect on their past.
So Hill Country Community Foundation, which serves students at Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, completed a project that essentially puts yearbooks in the palm of your hand.
Bertram High School yearbooks from 1952-1970 and Burnet High School yearbooks from 1952-2017 are now digitized.
The yearbook gallery can be found on the Hill Country Community Foundation website listed by year and school.
“Every page was scanned and designed to make scanned books easier,” said Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett.
McBurnett credited Hill Country Community Foundation general counsel Mike Lucksinger for coming up with the idea.
After finding a company that digitizes yearbooks, individuals went to work in gathering the yearbooks from both high schools.
It took about a month from the time the yearbooks were shipped to when they came back. Equally important, the superintendent said, is that no annual was damaged during shipping or scanning.
“Yearbooks are available to reminisce and remember the great times,” McBurnett said.
This project, according to McBurnett, falls in line with what the foundation is about: helping young people have a brighter future by uniting the community in that goal.
“We want to give back to our community by celebrating and preserving our past, while also increasing visits to the website,” he said.
Since 1983, the foundation has awarded more than $5.2 million in scholarships to 3,283 students. Every Burnet Consolidated Independent School District senior receives a scholarship of anywhere from $700 to $4,000 if they are enrolling in some type of continuing education program for an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a certification apprenticeship, or something similar. The money is sent directly to the institution.
On the evening of May 17, the foundation awarded $322,000 to students, which didn’t include at least $200,000 from the businesses, service organizations, and other generous givers.
McBurnett said the goal now is to digitize every yearbook prior to 1952.
“We’d love to try to go back farther,” McBurnett said. “We know there are yearbooks out there. If owners would like to share them with us, we’d love to have them digitized.”
If you have an annual and would be willing to have it scanned, email McBurnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.