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home : news : news Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2/15/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
The Observer photo by Kate Howes The Scribbler staff members Sam O’Connor, chief editor, and Grace Pfeifle, web designer, are excited about the second edition of the online literary magazine at Central DeWitt Community High School. The publication features writing and visual art created by students. The staff, made up entirely of students, is accepting submissions for the next issue, which will come out in May.
Students get creative with online mag
The Scribbler finds students like writing

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Last fall, when Central DeWitt Community High School language arts teacher Staci Mercado invited senior Sam O'Connor to be the chief editor of the school's literary magazine, "The Scribbler," he had just one question.

What exactly is a literary magazine?

But once O'Connor went online to investigate other such publications, he knew it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

"Sam is a really motivated writer," Mercado said. "He's also a leader of the student body, so I knew he would do really well with this. He's the boss, and he's done a great job."

O'Connor oversaw the latest and second publication of "The Scribbler," which is available online at thescribblerlitmag.wixsite.com/thescribbler.

The literary magazine features the work of high school students - including poetry, fiction, non-fiction writing, and visual art.

The first edition of "The Scribbler" was released last May.

While Mercado knew it would be a lot of work, she also felt confident there was enough student talent to support it.

It turned out, she was right.

As it prepared for the magazine's premiere issue, the staff - which is made up entirely of students - was thrilled by the number and quality of submissions made by their peers.

Mercado knew how many gifted writers and artists there were at Central DeWitt, and she wanted to give them a platform for their creativity.

'Nightmares and dreams'

As The Scribbler's mission statement reads: "Send us your struggles, your nightmares, your dreams. Send us the beauty in your everyday, your recognition of wrongs, your delight in the uniqueness of you."

The second edition of the publication proves to be just as impressive as the first.

"It's really opened my eyes to how many kids do write," O'Connor said. "We want to give them a voice, some kind of outlet."

Mercado said that at first, the staff had to seek out students who were willing to submit their work for all to see.

But as the magazine progresses and gains recognition, more and more students are offering their work in hopes of seeing it get published.

In fact, the staff has already received several submissions for the next edition, due out in May.

"In a language arts classroom, unfortunately, so much of what we do is tied to meeting 'standards and benchmarks,'" Mercado explained. "There's not enough time for creative writing, so it's nice for teachers to be able to see there is all of this talent in their classrooms."

The feedback from readers has been positive.

On The Scribbler's website, one student noted: "Your website looks amazing! The work on there is absolutely amazing! Please continue this for years to come."

Things to say

Freshman Grace Pfeifle said that when Mercado approached her about being the magazine's web designer, she knew it was something she wanted to be a part of.

"I think a lot of kids don't share things they write or draw with their parents," Pfeifle said. "You'd be surprised what a lot of kids in the community have to say."

As for those whose work has been selected for The Scribbler, they say it is a privilege to be heard.

"Being able to get my work published where others will see it is simply amazing," said Ellie Besst, who wrote a non-fiction piece called "Speechless" for the most recent issue. "It's an honor to know people are reading my writings, and I hope they enjoy it and are able to take something from it."

Non-fiction writer Sierra Schreckengost said she used to feel like writing was just a way to pass the time. She never felt what she wrote held meaning for anyone else.

Thanks to The Scribbler, Schreckengost has had a change of heart.

"I am proud of the piece The Scribbler chose to publish," she said. "That piece was a pure expression of myself, and I'm glad other people can access it and know they aren't alone in their anxiety. I intend to keep writing in my free time and create pieces that make me happy."

Fiction writer Paige Ernst encourages fellow students who are reluctant to share their creativity to take the advice of author Rick Riordan.

"He said, 'Writing is like a sport ... if you don't practice, you won't get better,'" Ernst said. "If you want to write, do it! Don't hold yourself back. You never know what magic is lurking between your mind and the pages!"

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