Salem High School’s literary magazine named finalist for Columbia Scholasic Press Association’s gold crown
‘Delphi’, the literary arts magazine by and for students at Salem High School, has been named a finalist for a gold crown by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association–and is the only Virginia magazine to receive the honor.
‘Delphi’ joins 31 other high school magazine finalists from across the country and from as far away as China and Indonesia (you can view the list here). As finalists, each magazine will receive either a silver or gold crown–and it goes without saying that the Delphi staff, and advisor Fred Campbell, English teacher at Salem High School, are hoping for the gold.
Maggie Rotanz, Editor-in-Chief for the 2012 issue, “Gravity Drifter”, showed up in Campbell’s creative writing class as a junior. She became editor of the literary arts magazine the following year, despite not having been involved with the publication before. Her past experience as photography editor for the Salem High School yearbook, however, checked the required boxes. Still, she says the hardest part for her was learning to be an editor to her friends.
“She found a nice balance,” Campbell said. “It was fun to watch her emerge as a leader–she emerged very quickly.”
Campbell has spent the last 12 years as the magazine’s advisor. When he learned that the magazine was named a finalist for the crown, “it made me very emotional,” he said. But ‘emotional’ may be something of an understatement; according to Rotanz, Campbell called her and left a “weeping message.”
“It’s a thrill to be nominated,” Campbell said. “This is a plateau I’ve been working towards for a long time.”
He and the rest of the ‘Delphi’ staff will find out how they fared during a ceremony on March 22, but Campbell seems confident in their product.
“It was something to be extremely proud of the day it came out,” Campbell said. “The day it came out, it started getting attention. We’ve never had an issue of ‘Delphi’ that got that much student attention that quickly.”
The response to the magazine surpassed Campbell’s expectations; at the annual Delphi Night at Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea last June, Campbell expected 20 to 25 party-goers. Instead, around 75 people turned out to celebrate the magazine.
A host of new features helped to draw in new and returning readers alike. Architectural images and a CD of students’ original music (compiled by Justin Hellier) added to the standard content of original art and creative writing. Organically integrated QR codes were an innovative part of the issue; readers scanned the codes to be able to interact with the artist or author from each of the pages. The 2012 issue packed on an extra 12 pages to accommodate all the creative submissions, bringing the page count to 60.
“Maggie didn’t know what she could do wrong so she did everything right,” Campbell said. “It all started and ended with Maggie’s vision.”