The Leesville Literary Magazine Revival

Student editors of the 2016-2017 Leesville Road High School Literary magazine pictured from left to right; Javier Flores, Lisa Watson, Serena Wooten, Olivia King, and Kaylee Kalaf. The Crescendo will be appointing new student editors for the 2017-2018 school year in the near future. ( Photo used by permission of LRHS Literary Magazine)

This spring, Leesville’s Literary Magazine will release another addition, bringing the talented and creative writers of Leesville together. Students created the magazine so others in the community could have the opportunity to express themselves through any medium.

While Leesville Road High School’s literary magazine, The Crescendo, made its debut in print form, it currently displays various poems and artwork digitally.

Katharine Locke dreamed about restarting the magazine 10 years ago. Locke was one of the founders of The Crescendo, as well as a co-editor for the 2007-2008 school year. “I helped recruit people, mostly creative writing students, to help advertise the submissions process and to read those submissions once they came in,” said Locke via email. Then, a smaller team along with Locke, would comb through submissions to select which literary pieces would make the cut.

The Crescendo was special for Locke because she enjoyed being an editor and working with a team of people who cared about writing as an artistic pursuit. “Having a project to work on that wasn’t college applications or homework was great, but it was also about creating something that would allow students to share their work with others,” said Locke.

Francine Simbulan, a sophomore at Leesville, was one of the many students who submitted a piece of work for the literary magazine this year. “I was hesitant on turning it in. I had many of my friends proofread [the poem] a bunch of times,” said Simbulan.

Both Simbulan and Locke even though the two are a decade apart, both enjoyed the fact that the work they created was purely for their individual enjoyment and not for a class. “It felt great because it was my own piece of literature that I did not have to create for a grade. It wasn’t forced to be perfect,” said Simbulan.

Simbulan created a piece of work whose outcome wasn’t bound by the guidelines of a rubric.

The creation of the literary magazine also put Locke into a situation where her leadership skills thrived. “I had never started something from scratch or even led a group of people like that, and I think it made me more confident in my abilities, which helps in all aspects of life,” said Locke. Being editor gave Locke experience in managing a team and in organizing tasks so that they lead to a good final outcome.

“I can still see us all in Mr. Broer’s (the faculty advisor at the time) classroom one afternoon, reading through submissions, sorting them into categories, and deciding how we’d distribute the finalists among genres and grade levels,” said Locke. The final product was what Locke looked forward to the most because it made her realize she had a hand in making it happen.

“When I started at Leesville four years ago, there hadn’t been [a magazine] in a really long time,” said Sarah White, faculty director of the magazine.

Since the magazine is the responsibility of the English department, White thought it necessary to take matters into her own hands. Generally, the Creative Writing Club is in charge of handling the magazine. Interest in the revival of the magazine started when many of the club’s members started to apply to be a literary magazine staff member. “[So] we re-established it as of last year,” said White.

The magazine has caught the attention of many students at Leesville. “So far, we’ve had more submissions then we’ve had in the past, especially from the underclassmen,” said White. For White and the rest of the literary magazine staff, submissions from the underclassmen are vital to ensure the future of the club.

The responsibility of The Crescendo initially fell into White’s lap, but her love for the magazine has grown. “I love giving ownership to the students, and [allowing them] to facilitate the work that comes in,” said White. White also enjoys observing staff members create their own ideas and watch those ideas form into something they can be proud of.

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