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Earlier this month, the members of Townsend Harris’s literary magazine club released the latest edition of The Phoenix, which celebrates the magazine’s three decades of existence while showcasing the work of Townsend Harris’s artistic and creative community.
The 30th issue revives the work of alumni and past advisors, as well as featuring the latest from current Phoenix members.
Advisor and Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowski remarked, “In the last few years, The Phoenix magazine and, more importantly, the community that creates it grew beyond my wildest expectations. The quality and range of the submitted works speak to the many talents our students possess. In recent years, we have managed to triple the amount of pages and more than double the amount of Phoenix members.”
The Phoenix’s editors and advisor hope to foster an environment where students at Townsend Harris are able to cultivate their talents and thrive artistically and creatively. Essential to this is creating a safe community where students are comfortable with sharing and submitting intimate works. The editors of this year’s edition write, “this issue reflects not only the potential for unique, creative talent among the current student body, but also that The Phoenix has been a haven for creativity over the past thirty years.”
In addition to creating the magazine, members of the club hope to engage their readers through periodic readings hosted in the school’s library and through contests that are open to the student body as a whole.
Editor-in-Chief Jillian Panagakos reflected on her time with The Phoenix: “I think that the book looks gorgeous, but I’m most proud of the changes I’ve seen in the community since I started. The Phoenix has grown into this amazing and vibrant community of about 40 members from all of the different grades. The members are equally as talented and passionate, but it’s definitely more of a family now.”
The Phoenix has also been awarded multiple accolades throughout its thirty years existence. Panagakos said, “over the past few years The Phoenix has won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medal (CSPA) award twice, the silver medal once, and the gold crown award.”
In addition to a selection of literary and artistic contributions from all grades, the thirtieth edition features spotlights on the work of two artists (senior Angel Song and freshman Marie Kessel), one photographer (senior Sofia Milonas) and one poet (junior Sarah Iqbal).
When it comes to supporting The Phoenix as it begins its next decade of existence, Panagakos said, “I think the Phoenix is so significant in the school because it’s a place where creativity is encouraged. That’s extremely significant in an education, I believe, and the Phoenix tries to foster the ideal of combining passion and inspiration with academics.”