By Janee Law
Northport High School’s student-produced art and literature magazine, the Amaranth, has earned both national and statewide awards.
Co-advised by high school English teacher Kelly Baldwin and fine arts teacher John DeRosa, the Amaranth earned in 2016-2017 third place in the annual magazine competition hosted by American Scholastic Press Association, and was one of 10 publications to be considered for the highest award offered in New York State by the National Council of Teachers of English.
The Amaranth, which publishes annually, was one of 10 publications to be recommended for the National Council of Teachers of English’s highest award.
The magazine, which has been operating for more than 30 years, is assembled by student members, who write poetry and prose, create paintings and photographs, select and edit student submissions, and more.
This American Scholastic Press Association believes that creating a publication teaches students several fundamentals of publishing, and the organization believed that the Amaranth showed dedication to excellence in these areas.
Senior co-art editor Emily McDevitt, 18, East Northport, said the magazine club allows students an opportunity to showcase a variety of work produced throughout the high school.
“You can do so much in a classroom when it comes to either your writing pieces or your art pieces, but this allows a bit more because there’s the anonymous factor,” she said, pointing to the magazine’s practice of accepting anonymous submissions. “It does allow for a lot more free range.”
The 20-member club meets each Thursday ahead of its annual print, which is in April, as the students review and edit work, and lay out pages.
The end goal, Baldwin said, is to continue to spread the word and expose readers to more artistic mediums.
The Amaranth is also facing the digital world head on with its website, Amaranthmagazine.weebly.com.
Senior editor-in-chief Kiara Lavin, a member of the club since she was a freshman, said she’s seen the publication grow exponentially.
“I’ve seen it go from something that was a little bit more old school and now we’re trying to approach more of an electronic idea,” Lavin, 18, East Northport, said. “We’re trying to create a website right now to get it more mobile, find a way to get more people to learn about it and provide a new creative outlet for people who are interested in the arts and writing.”
Baldwin added that she’s seen an increase in morale since the Amaranth earned third place in the ASPA’s contest and was recognized by the NCTE.
“I thought it was a big boost for them,” Baldwin said.
Leilani Kaiser, senior co-art editor, said earning both awards came as a real surprise.
Kaiser, 17, of Northport, said, “We feel proud of ourselves for being able to put together a great magazine full of amazing pieces of art and literature.”
Moving forward, Baldwin said, “We’re trying to do new things and change with the times and hopefully attract more people or make them know that we have a literary magazine.
“I just want it to reach every hand in Northport High School.”