Glen Ridge High School publishes literary magazine online – Essex News Daily
GLEN RIDGE, NJ – This school year at Glen Ridge High School looked a little different from previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it didn’t stop the literary magazine staff from doing their jobs. The 2021 edition of In Between was released last week after the editors spent months combing through the texts and submitted artwork and learning how to adapt to a digital format. Under the direction of four student editors and consultants Stephanie Pollak, the magazine was produced completely digitally for the second time this year.
“We knew it was going to be digital,” said junior co-editor Natalia Leaf in a phone interview with The Glen Ridge Paper on June 13th. “Last year we learned what worked and what didn’t, and we knew it would bring more opportunities.” So people would write. “
When the pandemic closed schools in March 2020 and rescheduled classes online, the magazine’s normal print and issue schedule had to be canceled. So, like so much else, it was brought to the internet. Although they had no magazine in hand, the editors found that publishing “In Between” only online had advantages.
“Usually we can’t have it in color,” said associate editor Arcadia Hinton-Cooley, also a junior at GRHS, in a phone interview on June 13th. “But we could do that this year, and we could have more art and more pages.”
Pollak, an English and psychology teacher at GRHS, said the digital format made it harder to encourage students to submit their work, but was easier to assemble remotely. For much of the school year, Glen Ridge students spent limited time in-person in class while also taking classes online.
“We usually put out a physical magazine, but given the remote aspect of this year, the online format seemed to work better,” she said in an email on June 11th. “The online format allowed us to include more full-color photos and graphics, which is a great way to include our talented photographers and artists in the magazine.”
This year’s edition of In Between, posted on the district’s website, is a 47-page collection of poems, short stories, and essays by GRHS students, as well as photographs and other artwork by students. There is usually no topic requirement for magazine submissions, but the pandemic emerged as a topic during the year.
“It became a reminder of what people went through this year,” said Leaf. “But we also balanced it out with non-pandemic pieces.”
For a few months at the beginning of each school year, the staff and Pollak encourage students to submit their texts or artwork for the magazine. Many GRHS English teachers help with the footwork, some offer additional credits to students who submit. In December, the employees begin to read through the submitted work and evaluate it individually. The grades are averaged and the top pieces make it into the magazine. Hinton-Cooley estimates that about 100 were submitted this year; half made it.
The editors found that finding students to publish work in In Between was not the biggest challenge this year, but getting them to read.
“It was difficult to find ways to get people to read it because a lot of students don’t go online and find it themselves,” said Hinton-Cooley. “Lots of parents read it and others in town. We’ll probably keep this digital part because it’s outside of school. But I think we’ll be printing again next year. “
It is also exciting for students to see their work published in physical form.
“It’s beautiful, to have something tangible and to have a place for all of the work and art in one place,” said Leaf.
Given the difficult year, Pollak said that many students welcomed the magazine as a sales market.
“Our students tend to have very busy schedules and I am impressed when they find the time to slow down and reflect in creative ways,” she said. “This year a lot of students seemed to need the creative outlet in the face of the pandemic, and I love having the opportunity to showcase their talents.”
The 2021 edition of “In Between” can be found on the front page of the district website at www.glenridge.org. According to Leaf, alongside the yearbook, the magazine is a way of keeping track of the school year.
“It’s this commemoration of the year,” she said. “We get pieces all year round and we can close the year.”