Curie High School on Chicago's SW Side puts together audio yearbooks

December 16, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Three years ago, Curie High School on Chicago's Southwest Side got the idea of adapting their yearbook for classmates who are blind and visually impaired.

"We don't try to describe the pictures because that would be basically impossible and probably pretty boring. What we actually do is we have students go out and do recordings much like you would do a radio broadcast of an event," said English teacher Sam Geraci. "And we'll put those all together and edit them and layer them with sound so that essentially, we have all the things that a yearbook has through the sounds."

Geraci is in charge of the yearbooks. He says he believes Curie is the only school with audio yearbooks.

"I think we're the first school to ever do it. I'm pretty sure we're the only ones," he said.

The work involved is the same as their printed yearbooks.

"I try to send at least two reporters you know, just to make sure that it works out well," Geraci said. "We edit it, and then, we try to find cool music that would layer with those events to the track so it's kind of fun."

This is the second year senior Alejandra Medina, 17, is working on the yearbooks.

"We would get people who were at the dance or people who won the royal titles like the homecoming queen and stuff. Then, we would take them out ask them how it was ask them to describe their dresses how the atmosphere was and all the decorations so that they would get a feel of how it was," said Medina.

One of the students who benefits from the audio yearbook is 18-year-old Tempest Foster.

"I listen to it often because like I want to hear like the clubs that they have and everything else," Foster said.

"I think it's part of the future. It ought to be if the goal is to make yearbooks interactive fun, but also if the goal of education is to give everybody an opportunity," said Geraci.

Geraci says the cost to produce audio yearbooks is less than producing print yearbooks, especially if you have the necessary equipment, which is a computer, recorders and CDs.

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