Valley Stream South High School’s literary arts magazine, “Trails of Society,” won first place in the high school division for the 2020-2021 Scholastic Yearbook and Magazine Award sponsored by the American Press Association (APA). The magazine was published in a year marked by upheaval and disruption linked to Covid-19 whose toll on young people’s lives was a common theme found in student submissions last year.
“A lot of the work focused on artists finding their identity, searching for community, or dealing with isolation,” said Tahreem Shah, co-chair of South High’s Literary Arts Magazine. “They also touched on mental health issues, anxiety and depression, which a lot of people struggled with in 2020-21. These wonderful writers and artists reflected a lot on the situation of the whole world in that year.
Assembling the magazine during the part of last year when the school was under distance and hybrid learning was an added challenge, with teams working together remotely and in person. Despite the obstacles, Shah said the team had bonded over a common goal and demonstrated impeccable teamwork in light of the unprecedented circumstances of the past year. “With all the issues that were going on, I really felt a connection with the people who contributed to the magazine,” she said. “It made us feel like we were one…”
“The recognition really goes to the students because they put so much time and effort into it,” said club adviser Michael Florio. “At the end of the day, it’s their artwork and their creativity that helps.” The APA judged approximately 1,300 school magazines nationwide, evaluating each magazine’s layout and creative variety. For the 2020-2021 edition, student contributors from South High submitted short and long poetry, physical and digital artwork, photography and prose.