Literary magazine fosters collaboration among staff members

Lit Mag contributors and staffers celebrate the successful edition of Amplify--this year's Pelham High School Literary Magazine. (Contributed)

Lit Mag contributors and staffers celebrate the successful edition of Amplify–this year’s Pelham High School Literary Magazine. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Press party tonight? Bahama Buck’s—are you in?”

Sending out messages via teacher-student communication forum Remind, posting on social media and emailing have created Pelham’s summer literary magazine press parties.

The magazine is printed before school ends; however, the staff congregates in the summer to reflect on their newest edition.

Watching students marvel over what their collaborative talents and sacrifices have created is a gift. Teaching a staff class must be like directing a choir. The entire group can create a magnificent performance; however, students must own their strengths, discover the strengths of others—and the art of collaboration—to create their best publication.

Coming to agreement on design issues is monumental—especially for creative people with a message. Agreement on words is even more challenging. The magazine’s mission is “to celebrate the artistry and creative diversity of Pelham High School’s students and to provide a venue for the publication and distribution of their work.”

My first lit mag staff crafted this mission statement—collaboratively, on a white board, arguing and tweaking until they had the statement reflecting their vision.

They were all invested. I wrote, erased, corrected spelling and listened. Every staff has owned and accomplished this mission.

“Lit Mag is a student-driven class requiring you to communicate politely—even when you disagree,” Junior Design Editor Casey Brooks said.

“The value of ‘I feel’ statements becomes apparent,” Editor-in-Chief Sarah Sansom said. “This class has taught me the art of compromise.”

“Lit Mag is a growing experience,” agreed Editor-in-Chief Kaitlin Van Dorsten.

The 2015 literary magazine is the first digital art cover, created by Senior Design Editor Kristen Hayes, reflecting her talent in digital art.

Indeed, the magazine’s theme reflects the digital process of transformation.

“Amplify” is the title meaning to increase strength. Section titles include, “Outset” meaning the beginning, “Flux” meaning continual change and “Coalesce” meaning to come together and form one mass or whole.

Editor-in-Chief Maggie Smith chose the magazine’s traditional closing quote from Henry Ford. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Successful seniors exit. Next year’s staff emerges.