The Works


Senior Ketan Jain-Poster reviews the 2013 edition of the CHS literary magazine, The Works. The Works is nominated for the Pacemaker Award. Photo by Rebecca Stiffelman.

Towards the end of each school year, 200 copies of The Works are printed and distributed in CHS. Full color and bound, these compact literary/arts magazines contain a unique glimpse into student life through written and visual artwork.

“There’s been some form of literary magazine at Clayton High School for decades,” CHS English teacher John Ryan said. “The Works goes back, I would say, to more than 20 years ago.”

Ryan is the advisor to the student-run magazine. In addition to setting deadlines for submissions and magazine design, he receives nominations for student pieces from their teachers.

“We publish written work like short stories, poems, and personal essays, we publish visual artwork that includes photography, paintings, other media, and then we also publish music from student musicians,” Ryan said.

The music section of The Works can be found on the popular audio-uploading website SoundCloud.

For the past two consecutive years, the Works has won the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker Magazine Award. The magazine also recently became a finalist for the 2013 Pacemaker Award. Ryan is proud.

“It’s gratifying that we get recognition outside of school that we are doing something of quality, but honestly what’s more important to me is that students who get published in The Works didn’t realize that they have that talent,” Ryan said. “So it’s a chance to recognize students who don’t always get recognition.”

CHS Senior Ketan Jain-Poster has been a part of The Works staff since sophomore year. As the oldest member of the magazine, Jain-Poster has a lot of experience.

“We all kind of do a little bit of everything,” Jain-Poster said. “One week I’ll be working with papers, artwork, and literature, and the next week I’ll be coordinating what we will be doing and how to get more submissions.”

Jain-Poster agrees with Ryan’s message of student recognition.

“[Working on The Works], you get to review such incredible artwork and a lot of times you don’t realize how much talent some of the kids in the school have,” Jain-Poster said.

One of the concerns associated with the magazine is its publishing and later distribution to the community. Due to the magazine’s limited funding, not many people in the community have access to copies. Ryan hopes that technology will help solve the problem.

“I’d like to have more of an online presence,” Ryan said. “I hope we get more funding and a bigger audience. In contrast to Globe and Claymo, [The Works] is not a class, so everything happens outside the school day. That’s an issue. We don’t have a big budget to publish the magazine.”

Trying to address the problem, Jain-Poster has been kept busy with a project for the distribution of the magazine.

“We have this new thing this year that I set up last semester where we’ll sell The Works at the Art Museum gift shop,” Jain-Poster said.

New Works staff members are always welcome by Ryan. The submission deadline for this year’s Works magazine is March 13th but submissions after this deadline are accepted as well.

The insight The Works magazine provides into students and their personal expression is truly unique from all other CHS publishing.

“[The Works] just shows the community that, frankly, there’s more to life than tests and everything else we stress here [at CHS],” Ryan said. “There’s an appreciation of beauty and feeling; it’s kind of a justification for artists.”