By Shawn Kirkpatrick
Thought provoking prose, heart tugging poetry, beautiful artwork and breathtaking photographs, all by students – that’s what you’ll find in the award winning Opelika High School ‘Perspectives’ magazine.
Dr. Charles Hannah started the magazine during the 1987 – 88 school year to provide an outlet and encouragement for creative students. “He wanted another way for students to express themselves. The first copies he printed out himself in the school copy room,” said Isabel Aleman, Senior and Editor of Perspectives. “As time went on and technology advanced, how it was printed and the quality improved. He really stood for the arts here at Opelika High.”
In 2014 Hannah published his last edition and Summer Upton took over the magazine as student advisor where she remained for the next two years. Katie Thornbury, an Auburn graduate, took over the reins in 2017 and is now the Perspectives advisor. But the heart and soul of the magazine is Aleman, the magazine staff and the students.
“I think Opelika High School is really special,” explained Aleman. “Every year Mr. (Jeff ) Conway, our art teacher, will send us pictures of what he has available from what his students have drawn this school year. And every year there are pieces of art that are just breathtaking. And pieces of writing that you are like, a high school student wrote this. It’s a blessing to go to high school here and see there is so much talent.”
At the first of the year the magazine staff collects submissions from students. Thornbury said there were more than 300 this year. “I was super impressed and thankful for the submissions. A lot of the English and creative writing teachers have been helpful this year having their students submit pieces as part of their grade in creative writing.”
The Perspectives staff then reads them all and whittles it down to 20 pieces. Aleman said they go through hundreds of drafts of the magazine to get it right before it’s published in May. Thornbury explains they want it to look the best it can. “We want to do the pieces justice. These people put a lot of hard work and effort into what they’ve written or their painting or picture.
Aleman said it’s not just publishing a magazine, there’s a deeper meaning and purpose behind it all.
“With “Perspectives’ we can tell people’s stories and make them feel they are worth something. I feel it is a good way for students to feel like they’re more involved. Before I was involved in this, I didn’t feel like I had a voice. Now I have a way to speak out and I feel valued and heard.”
Both Thornbury and Aleman want the community to know more about the magazine, and be able to buy them at certain places across the city. Copies of last year’s edition are available right now for $10 only at the high school. This year’s edition will be available in May.
To buy a copy of Perspectives and support the talented student staff, contact Ms. Thornbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.