Rebirth of the Review

The West High literary magazine is reviving itself after several years of inactivity.


Kara Wagenknecht

A stack of Grapevine’s, West High’s literary magazine, is scattered across the floor.

In West’s storied history, there have been many clubs, organizations and institutions which have sprung up, lived out their brief lives, and then faded away. Take the Winter Formal, for instance, which was retired in early 1980s.

Or the Smudge, an underground student magazine that once stirred up controversy before disbanding upon graduation. For the past few years, the student literary magazine here at West was just like them: dead. Once a bustling, active publication, it has not run an issue for as long as any current student can remember.

“The year before I took over it was pretty big, but it was all these seniors,” said Tom Lindsey, the club sponsor. “Once all the seniors graduated, then the next year, we just had, it was almost like the club completely was decimated. We just had a few juniors. So that year we had to kind of rebuild from that year. And then we did rebuild it, and it really helps having really outgoing managing editors. So I had some really good editors, for three in a row, right after that. We really got the club promoted, we tried the online bit, and that’s that.”

However, it has not published since 2015 due to staffing issues and competition with other clubs for students’ time.

“I think part of it is getting staff, building a West High Review staff. Part of it’s that and part of it’s me. I mean, I was busy coaching and stuff. But at the same time, it’s supposed to be a student-run organization. So, I think just getting people involved,” said Lindsey. “At the same time, there are a lot of clubs, so we’re competing with a lot of clubs to try and find that time when to meet. And so most people are involved in multiple clubs, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays are the best times to meet. However, those are all full. And so I think it’s that.”

This year the literary magazine has renamed itself the West High Review and has plans to publish once more.

“Eventually, we’re going to publish a magazine,” said William Zhang ‘20, who works on the magazine’s website. “A magazine of all the students’ works.”

The club hopes to garner enough submissions to create a magazine this year.

“My biggest hope is that we actually get some submissions,” said Zhang. “We’ve been putting posters around [the school], and we’ve been discussing it in club meetings, how we can get people to participate.”

I see it as an opportunity for many students to express their creative abilities in ways that classes or other structured events may have not in the past.”

— Patrick Taylor '20

Patrick Taylor ‘20, a designer on the magazine staff, felt similarly.

“I’d heard about opportunities to do design, so I was really interested, and so I decided to join. I see it as an opportunity for many students to express their creative abilities in ways that classes or other structured events may have not in the past,” said Taylor. “Students who are interested in writing can get published. Even if you just have a vague interest and don’t have a lot of time to write a lot, you can still write something.”

The club members have high hopes for the future. As Zhang said, “Hopefully this will be a long-term thing. We’ll continue having this club in years to come, we’ll continue publishing students’ works, and showing what the West High community can do.”