Observations

The Élan classroom is filled with a gentle hum as editors, public relations teams, and web designers run scatter-brained ideas by fellow peers. I look up from my work to see students glued to computer screens, each individual delving deep into editing for the upcoming edition of the magazine. All the while, white walls echo with the chatter of deadlines and press releases, suggestive of a real newsroom. The editors-in-chief move to the front of the class, as the clacking of keyboards subsides. Students take their seats to begin the oh-so-familiar routine of a staff meeting.

Merely teenagers, members of the Élan staff are already eerily acquainted with the cycle of the working world. Every other day we come together for an hour and a half, toiling away on individual assignments, deadlines in sight, and then we gather in the front of the room for group discussions. There is constant pressure to satisfy our editors, be the best, edit the best, and choose the best pieces, all within a very thin time frame. We work together as one large, simultaneously moving body to reach an ultimate goal: publishing a professional literary magazine three times a year.

Being on the Élan staff is all about pushing the publication and sharing innovative ideas. It’s impossible to thrive without a voice, and I think that is one of the greatest lessons I can carry with me to the working world. Through dozens of staff meetings, I have learned the importance of speaking up for what I believe in. If I don’t open my mouth, voice my opinion, share my thoughts, a door may close for the magazine. One unsaid sentence can mean a missed opportunity.

My involvement in Élan has prepared me for a world beyond high school on a monumental scale. With the experience and life lessons gained in this class, I feel I can walk out the doors of Douglas Anderson with a sense of confidence I did not previously possess. Because I am given so many responsibilities on a daily basis, I have discovered newfound independence and personal direction within myself. Student-run literary magazines are popping up all over the country. They are the future, a prime ingredient in creating a more driven generation.

–Emily Jackson, Non-Fiction Editor