Literary journal draws school talent
Creative writing, poems, artwork and photography done by Pueblo West High School students are again on display this year in The Eye of the Storm, an electronically-published literary journal for the school.
Staff advisor Johanna Woelfel started the journal several years ago “so that our students would have a public place to share their creative writing,” she said. The journal went on hiatus for a few years while she was on leave getting her Master’s Degree, but this marks the second year it’s back in full swing, and now electronically published thanks to technology.
“Every student has different talents. For our athletes, the showcase is obvious. For our musicians, they have band and choir, but for a lot of our writers, we don’t have a place where we can share their work,” Woelfel said. “Another group of our talented students, this is their avenue where they can come together and share their work and read the creative work of others.
“There’s a community. They like knowing they’re not the only ones at home writing poems! And a lot of these kids, they’re just as happy to see not only their own name, but to read the other stories and poems and have a connection to other kids.”
Woelfel, from Albany, N.Y., said she wrote for and helped edit the literary journal at her high school and loved it. When she came to Pueblo West High School, she offered to start The Eye of the Storm. While the first couple of years were slow as she got to know students and spread the word, it’s become a popular showcase.
Items in the literary journal range from poems and short stories to digital images, artwork and photographs, although the emphasis is on written work.
Students contribute their pieces and Woelfel begins to organize.
Then a small group of students who want to be “more involved than just contributions” serve as senior editors to proofread and help put the journal together.
Jacob Wilkinson is one of the senior editors, who contributed a poem to the journal and said he’s loved reading the submissions of other students.
“I learned that there is a lot of hidden talent that is just awesome when you’re able to read it, and if there wasn’t the literary journal, I don’t know if any of those would ever be read,” he said.
“It’s something significant, really crucial for some people just so they can build up their confidence and willingness to show off their talent.”
Gabbie Potter is another senior editor, and she plans to major in journalism and Spanish in college, so she knew the chance to help edit the journal was good experience.
“I wanted to gain the experience for my desired career,” she said.
“In that field, you need to know all the different aspects, not just the writing. And I learned that scrutinizing other works helps you better scrutinize your own.”
Ryan Santisteven said her favorite part of the literary journal is that submissions can be anonymous or under a pseudonym if students are shy but still want to share their work.
“The literary magazine brings together students of every kind to express creatively. Anyone can contribute,” she said.
“It has been a great piece to be a part of for the past two years and I only hope that next year more people get involved, because it is truly a masterpiece of the creative students at Pueblo West High School.”
To view The Eye of the Storm, visit the school’s homepage at pwh.district70.org and follow the link.