OHS magazine wins national award

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OHS magazine wins national award
Verve magazine staff membersOlympia High School’s literary magazine is one of only two statewide to earn an excellent rating in a recent competition.

The 2021 edition titled “Verve,” which features a collection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and artwork, received the top honor from the 2021 National Council of Teachers of English Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines program.

Literary Magazine is a student-led club at OHS that publishes an annual collection of student work. Submissions are accepted from students throughout the school and edited by members of the club. The magazine title changes each year based on the theme and contents, as well as the cover art.

“We all work very hard throughout the year to produce a quality book compiling the best student art and writing OHS has to offer,” said Literary Magazine lead designer Ethan Brickell.

Verve is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “The spirit and enthusiasm animating artistic composition or performance.”

“We thought ‘Verve’ went well with the vigor with which students were creating while stuck at home during the pandemic and with the striking image of the ostrich on the red background,” said Literary Magazine adviser Carolyn Gilman.

The 2021 edition was unique in that it was created remotely during COVID-19 school closures. The pandemic provided student authors and artists with plenty of material, as well as extra time to work on the publication, editors said.

“I think it was a motivator for people to write because there aren’t a lot of other outlets when you’re stuck at home,” said senior editor Tahlia Neely. “We definitely had a lot of pieces about living through the pandemic both last year and this year.”

Literary Magazine club members met throughout the 2020-21 school year weekly in Zoom meetings, many of which lasted several hours. Many students contributed countless hours of extra time outside of the school day.

“When everything was online we had extra time and we all wanted to see each other,” said senior editor Fiona Whitaker.

“It’s a really great community,” Neely said. “Everyone here is really awesome and you get to read a lot of cool stuff and take part in something that gets made into a physical thing. It’s really cool.”

Students involved with the Literary Magazine benefit from the social-emotional learning of working together and reading the works of their peers, Gilman said.

“Creating writing and art is an incredibly beneficial outlet for many students here at OHS: it makes them feel better about school and life in general,” Gilman said. “The fact that students get to see their writing being recognized by their peers is incredibly important. The recognition means a lot to them.”

Many students choose to participate in the Literary Magazine for several of their high school years. “It has remained my rock through the turbulence that is high school,” said Brickell, who has served as a Literary Magazine designer for all of his four years at OHS. “I have been fortunate enough to find my niche as the designer, and despite the large amount of work the job requires, I find it all highly satisfying and I enjoy the whole process.”

The Literary Magazine provides students with a source of pride and contributes to a feeling of social belonging, Gilman said. “I remember a student saying that she didn’t feel like she fit in at OHS but when she was with the Literary Magazine group she felt accepted. I think giving students a social-emotional connection is more important now than ever before.”

“The students whose writing and/or art appears in the publication, and the students who work on the publication, are not always the students who experience a lot of recognition at Olympia High School,” Gilman said. “Publication in and working on the literary magazine gives students a way to feel connected to our school and get recognition from teachers and staff as well as peers and parents.”

Students are currently working on the next edition of Literary Magazine, which will be published in May 2022. Copies of the OHS Literary Magazine can be purchased from the school ASB office or on the Olympia High School websiteOpening in a new window.