As I enter my second year on the Élan staff, I’m both proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and eager to see what we have the chance to do this year. Élan has given me the chance to work with my classmates to make a real impact. I love writing a lot, but it can be a very insular practice. It’s easy to forget about your writing community. As a staff member, however, I am always surrounded by fellow student writers. I get the chance to read new writing from talented students. I’m able to help plan events which showcase writing and art from young people.
These things help my writing immensely—I’m always inspired by reading submissions—but they also help me as a person. Working with my fellow staff members has really shown me how much we can accomplish together. Last year, we put on a homecoming dance and Coffeehouse, an event in the fall where student perform original works of writing and other artistic forms. We also put on a beautiful gallery in Yellow House, a local venue, and featured a lot of important voices. At the beginning of last year, I never would’ve expected to be a part of any of those things, but Élan gave me opportunities I didn’t even know I wanted.
This year, as a senior, I’m excited to work with and guide the juniors as they discover what Élan has to offer. Everyone has fresh and interesting ideas, and I know that Élan is going to grow a lot in the upcoming year. I’m excited to train my junior counterpart and share ideas about what we want the book to look like and be. It’s always exciting to get a new pair of eyes.
Although I’m not exactly sure what I want to do when I grow older, I know that the skills I’m gaining on the Élan staff are going to help me. Aside from the technical skills I’ve gained as Layout and Design Editor, I’ve also learned so much about how much goes on behind the scenes of a publication like this. In my first few years of high school, I read literary magazines, but before being on the staff of one I never could’ve guessed how much effort went into the creation/ There are a lot of elements that have to be tied together to come out with a cohesive product. I’m leaning towards working somewhere in the publishing or media industries, so it’s been amazing to have an experience like this in high school.
Many of my skills from Élan will help me no matter where I go in life. I’ve learned how to work with a variety of different people to accomplish a common goal. I’ve learned how to manage and plan large events. I’ve learned how to keep an eye out for exceptional art and writing, wherever it may be. While I am graduating this year, Élan will always be important to me.
–Meredith Abdelnour, Senior Layout and Design Editor