Literary magazine takes gold at national competition

Menagerie earns top honor, continues legacy in preparation for next issue


Sarah Grier, Assistant online/ social media editor

At the annual Columbia Scholastic Press Association competition, Lyons Township’s literary magazine, Menagerie, received the gold award in the magazine competition. This competition consisted of 6,420 entries produced by students at colleges and high schools throughout the United States.

“We don’t expect to win, but we have been fortunate to win six years in a row,” co-editor-in-chief Dheeksha Ranginani ’17 said.

Menagerie is an 88-page literary publication featuring poetry, short stories and other forms of student-produced literature. This is complemented by the photography and artwork submitted by all grade levels. It is comprised of literary staff and art staff, with eight main student editors.

“I attribute the success to all of the great planning from all the editors and the co-editors-in-chief,” art editor Caroline Wuerl said.

Menagerie also has two literary staff advisors, Joseph Maffey and Angela Gutierrez, and one art advisor, Mary Rohlicek. Even though it is a student-run publication, they help to guide the editors.

“The teachers have done this for so many years, and they give us so much great advice on how to run things better since they have seen past staff mistakes,” Ranginani said. “The teachers aren’t imposing at all, but they are great sources for advising us what not to do.”

The last issue’s theme—Multiplicity—conveys the idea of multiple elements brought together under a singular magazine. The staff spent more money on the cover than usual and worked together to create smooth, curved lines throughout the entire book. The choice to accent the pages with gray helps to tie together all of the diverse works of literature and art.

“A lot of the art work in the last issue was captivating,” Rohlicek said. “It was definitely one of our stronger art issues, especially the photography.

The issue also had many strong literary pieces, because of the immense number of creative submissions received from students, at the competition the literary submissions account for approximately 40-percent of the scoring.

“We were concerned we wouldn’t be able to finish everything,” Ranginani said. “The editors this year went through all 400 poetry submissions and cut the total in half before our first meeting which was unprecedented.”

Despite losing many senior staff members last year, Menagerie hopes to continue its legacy.

“Our staff builds upon the strength of those seniors and new people who learned, listened, contributed, worked, shared, all step forward and generate new enthusiasm for a new magazine,” Gutierrez said.

The Menagerie staff has already begun preparations for the next issue, with deadlines for literature on Jan. 20 and art on Feb. 13, encouraging all students to submit to [email protected]

“I appreciate the wide variety of art and genres that we are able to feature,” Maffey said. “The creativity of our student-writers blows me away every year and last year’s edition was no different. I can’t wait to see what is submitted this year!”