St. Vincent de Paul High School has received a top honor from the National Council of Teachers of English for its literary magazine, Amused. Nearly 400 schools around the country submitted their publications and St. Vincent was among 53 schools to receive the "Superior" award for their work.
The magazine is a big deal at St. Vincent’s, said Janet Donovan, who teaches English at the school and who served as the faculty advisor for Amused, now in its 26th year.
“It’s part of a long tradition at our school and students feel attached to it," Donovan said. "It’s a product of our creative writing class and we solicit submissions from everybody."
It's also a large team effort.
In addition to Donovan who also teaches creative writing and psychology at St. Vincent, English teachers Brendan Riley, Mary FitzGerald and Elaine Bultman get a big thank you from students in the opening pages of the magazine for “introducing us to great authors and for encouraging us to aim for creativity and quality in our own writing."
Ditto to art teachers Amy Waud-Reiter and Marla Peterson “for encouraging self-expression"; Ed Wayne for helping out on Saturday mornings and others, especially for hosting the annual Amused reading. (Call the store for this year's date)
Pulling together a magazine is hard enough work on the face of it, but pairing it with all the other commitments students have towards the end of the year – finals, school plays, service – the final product also relies on plenty of dedication.
Former student editor Danielle Doolittle, now a student at Gonzaga University, felt one of the biggest challenges in creating the publication was finding balance.
“I think this student magazine shows a different side to our school and students take pride in it because we have consistently produced exceptional work with eye-opening compositions and flawless artwork,” Doolittle said.
For former student editor Allison Erny, now at U.C. Berkeley, the process of putting together Amused 2011 was a little like a treasure hunt.
“At a small high school like St. Vincent's, most of the students know each other by name and face. Matching those names to the different works we received gave us editors a lot of admiration for students whose talents we hadn't known of before,” said Erny.
You might think when students leave a small campus like St. Vincent’s for a big college like UC Berkeley, the memories made there fade quickly. Not so for Doolittle.
Even if Amused had been skipped over for accolades, she said she will always be proud of the work in which she played a part.
“Endless amounts of hours were committed to this project both in and out of school and it was an experience I will never forget,” she said.