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A Literary Art Magazine Receives Gold Crown Award

By Harry Brake
A Literary Art Magazine Receives Gold Crown Award

The American School Foundation’s student literary art magazine Repentino., based in Mexico City and formerly known as Reflections, received the Gold Crown Award in journalism from Columbia University in 2015.
In the magazine’s first year of publication, six staff members attended the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference in New York City and brought home a Silver Crown Award. This initial taste of success was enough to motivate more students to join what was becoming a truly interactive, project-based initiative around artistic expression.
Using Repentino. as a forum for connecting like-minded artists from around the globe, the staff celebrated diverse views embodied by the written word, photography, sculpture, and every imaginable medium applied to a canvas. Hence, Repentino. became a tool that could be used to showcase creativity across several pages, and from several continents.
Unknowingly at first, what the past and present staff of Repentino. have done is to take the very Common Core standards required over a variety of disciplines and apply them, through a project-based approach, to their areas of interest and expression. In doing so, students have built a community on social media, a forum for interviewing upcoming artists, as well as a think-tank that seeks new and creative methods to reach a variety of talented individuals.
By reaching out to out to diverse artists, staff members stumbled across a meaningful pursuit: helping outside organizations, individuals, and other groups within their own school become successful. From purchasing art from the Small Art School in India, to joining alongside organizations within their own school to raise funds for other non-profit initiatives, to recognizing talented individuals who never thought of themselves as artists, the landscape grew as students broadened their ideas of what obtaining a true education meant.
As education is constantly evolving and shifting, it is sometimes crucial to approach things that have never been done before. What harm would it be to allow students to share the objectives of Common Core and help be part of the planning process rather than be merely recipients? Is it so unrealistic that students could help move the education process forward with their input other than in a testing format?
As the staff of Repentino. found out, in the four years they have been creating, planning, interviewing, organizing, and designing, they have also been meeting Common Core objectives all along. Being a part of a yearbook staff, a magazine staff, a non-profit organization that learns how to write grants, and working for public entities that serve the local county are only a few of the many examples that have involved students and led them to be successful in their own futures.
In addressing needs from a 21st-century perspective, Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and testing scores have a tendency to dominate the landscape. Yet, due to the increasing demand to meet requirements in education, what is often left behind is the ability to ignite the artistic spark that fuels students, as well as educators, and propels them forward.
What has achieving the Gold Crown Award meant to the Repentino. staff? This has been a work in progress over the past four years, during which there were roadblocks, sometimes criticism, and little recognition. In conjunction with the magazine, the students started an Open Mic Night; they attended conferences New York on topics related to publishing; they created candy grams for the student body during Christmas and Halloween—whatever it took to fuel their project. Challenges along the way were met with enthusiasm and energy.
The student’s role has evolved dramatically over the years, and the era of sitting behind a desk for the better portion of the day is at an end. While winning an award is wonderful, the ultimate reward is to experience a bit of the outside world every day through true project-based learning, which also requires persevering in the face of critical feedback and obstacles. The staff of Repentino. have witnessed all of this and understand that the path to gold is full of conflicts, setbacks, criticism, and sacrifice. And yet, isn’t that what real life is all about? I find myself learning as much as my students, and that is priceless.
To find out more about ASF’s Repentino. magazine, visit:
Other contributors to this article are Melinda Duryea, Camille Morales, Tammy Pham, and Veronica Tran.

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