The stunning photographs.
The magical phrases of poetry.
The amazing computer-generated art.
The superior storytelling through short stories and personal essays.
It’s all in Edda, Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s award-winning art and literary magazine that’s 110-page package is beautiful, mysterious, joyful and thought provoking.
The 2014 edition was one of three Illinois high school magazines judged to be worthy of a superior rating from the National Council of Teachers of English. Over the last several years, the magazine’s been an annual winner in that competition, and has won the Silver Crown from Columbia University’s Scholastic Press.
This yearly magazine allows students to nurture their exceptional creative talents and then put them on display, said H-F teacher Sahar Mustafah, the EDDA sponsor who works with the EDDA Club, an extracurricular activity that gives its 10 members full responsibility for the publication.
“These students are learning about more than writing skills, “ the teacher said. “They’re learning editing skills, printing skills, design.”
EDDA solicit materials for the magazine from H-F students and receives its first submissions about a month into the school year.
“We meet once a week after school to go through submissions and discuss themes,” said Co-Editor-in-Chief Michael Crecco.
“The major thing when accepting or declining a piece, it’s all about quality,” said senior Sabrina Howard. “It has to have a very creative message and voice to simply be high quality. Sometimes you just see a piece (of art) or read a piece and you know” it’s right for EDDA.
If editors like Howard pick a piece, it goes on to Vivien Makos, copy editor, for another review and discussion between her, Crecco and Co-Editor-in-Chief Noelle Maldonado.
“I go through them and offer comments and corrections so they’re in top form,” Makos said. She finds most writers are receptive to her suggestions because “they’re always looking to improve their craft.”
Mustafah said about 85 percent of the written works in EDDA come from the Creative Writing class she teaches. She gives students special topics to help stimulate their creativity.
For example, the 2014 edition includes three short essays from a class assignment
all beginning with the words, “The door swung open…” Using those opening words, students painted different pictures: an absent father returning after 10 years, a student back to school from two weeks in treatment, a girl hiding from her abusive father.
The 2014 edition used the theme “the perfect blend” and was designed around someone at a coffee house. EDDA Club members are now working on the 2015 edition themed “the mask.” The cover design is by Raven Brown, a junior, who said it took numerous revisions to get to the final product that includes not only the mask but icons that will be incorporated into the page designs.
By February, EDDA members have accepted and proofed most of the work for the magazine, so Brown can begin her designs for this year’s 100-plus page magazine.
Oftentimes, the students are able to pair a written piece with an appropriate photo or other art for a seamless two-page presentation in the magazine. When there’s surplus art, Makos admits it can be hard to toss a piece that everyone considers a favorite. “We’re trying so hard to get them in, but sometimes it’s rough,” she said.
EDDA staff can be with the publication all four years, or one year. All input is valuable, said Mustafah, who in addition to the editors is also working with staff members Riley Farkos, Jaida Macklin, Cheya Washington, Payton Gallery and Hyacinth Agting.
EDDA, published since 1962, takes its name from volumes of Norse oral mythology, in keeping with H-F’s mascot of the Viking warrior. Mustafah says the magazine wouldn’t be making such a splash if it didn’t have a budget and school administration support.
“I feel so fortunate and I guess the other side of me is asking ‘Why wouldn’t there be an emphasis on the arts and literature?’ We’re a really well-rounded school so there is no lack of funding there. We’re able to produce a beautiful, professional magazine each year,” Mustafah said.
Contact Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]