After visiting Mark Williams’ classroom at North Heights, we discussed having his students contribute blog posts about the great things going on in their classroom. This post, written by student Nicki DeLeon, is about their student produced magazine, “The Fringe”.
By Nicki DeLeon
When student Merri Palmer created the first Fringe nine years ago, no one knew it would have grown into thirty-one issues by thirty-one editors and would today be a full-blown, full-color 40-page glossy magazine. The Fringe is the work of North Heights PASS students and it has a rich history and bright future.
Picture this: we had students who wrote pieces for the Fringe starting way back in August and they worked on them until the last second before the issue went to print in December. Our student editor worked for hours a day during that time to edit, design and format the magazine, to give it her voice, our voice.
When we passed out the Fringe last week, 150 copies of our voice, it was a sight to see. Walk past any classroom and instead of working on math or English, we were all immersed in reading what others had to say. I was one of them.
We students need to express ourselves. We use our stories to navigate the difficult teen years, to explore topics we talk about in class (and out of class.) The Fringe is our outlet. No teachers allowed. Well, okay, Mr. Williams and Mr. Weis do look over our shoulder but in the end, we make the decisions about our own publication.
Each Fringe is unique and reflects the interests of the students at that time and the vision of that editor. My favorite articles are the ones that cover fashion or dating. The Fringe is published 1-4 times a year and is student-written, student-edited and student-designed. The Fringe is meant to serve as a community forum. We believe in authentic writing, writing that is about discovering truth, writing that finds readers outside the teacher. We think that publishing what we write is important, and it is the final result of the process, that makes the connection between the writer and the reader.
We have gone from a photocopied, black and white 8 page Fringe to 44 page full color splash. The magazine has won awards but it’s not about that. The Fringe is our legacy. You’ll see new students pick up copies from several years ago and see students they know or get interested in a topic some student wrote. We have everything from poems and artwork, editorials to investigative journalism, debates to questions and we hope that these spark conversation, thought and community – it’s a paper of community. Some of the articles became launching points for novels, novelas, editorials in the Amarillo Globe News and two articles were published in national magazines. We first used Publisher software on Dell, and now use Pages on iMac. Next up: electronic delivery of the Fringe so we can all have it on our phones and tablets.
You know the funny thing about The Fringe? We don’t do it for academic credit. We do it because we can.