Falls Church High School’s Jagazine Wins #1 in State Competition


(Photo courtesy of Ms. Olarinde)

Ryan Haynes, Managing Editor

The Jagazine is our very own literary magazine made by students here at Falls Church.  It is full of short-stories, six-word memoirs, sketches, and poems.  This idea was initiated last year when English teachers Ms. Olarinde and Mrs. Soderstrum had great work from their students that they felt wasn’t being fully recognized.  They decided to publish in a book to sell for kids at Falls Church.  After it was published, they later learned that the Virginia High School League has competitions for newspapers and magazines, not just athletic endeavors.  Mrs. Olarinde said, “This is such a great book, this should be recognized.  I wanted my students to be able to say they had work published in an award winning magazine.”

The group of 16 student authors from last year submitted their magazine in June of 2015 for the VHSL competition.  On October 12, there was a VHSL Celebration Dinner for this competition in Fredericksburg where schools who submitted their work were welcome to come and hear the winners.  As first-time submitters for this competition, Ms. Olarinde and Mrs. Soderstrum were not aware of this dinner, so they were not at the ceremony to receive their award.  They were of course contacted by VHSL with the news that they had been selected as one of 20 schools for first place in the competition.  Ms. Olarinde said she was “shocked,” to find out they had won, “but not really shocked because it was so good.”

The magazine is rated on a rubric and the judges go through, grade, and mark up every single page.  The book itself is 212 pages and is constructed by the Poetry Slam Team, Sketch Club, and the Creative Writing Class.  The book was sold for just $4 last year, but it was only preorders. This year’s club has 15 members and has a couple of new faces on board.  Mr. Remer was the Sketch club leader last year but he is no longer teaching here, so now a first-year teacher here, Mr. Cottrell, is the new Sketch Club sponsor.

The fact that this was Falls Church’s first magazine and it won a state award is very impressive.  The Jagazine club meets after school every odd Tuesday in Ms. Olarinde’s classroom.  There is a cover art contest which anyone can submit to for this year’s magazine, and anyone is welcome to submit their work to Ms. Olarinde or Mrs. Soderstrum to be put in this year’s Jagazine.  Mrs. Olarinde said the idea behind this publication was to “give kids a voice.”