Tabula Rasa Becomes First Place Winner In American Scholastic Press Association Competition For Fourth Year In A Row

Arjun Kelkar, News Writer

From Robotics to Model UN, Pinewood offers lots of extracurriculars for students to partake in. One club in particular continues to exemplify success year after year: Tabula Rasa. With a plethora of local and national awards to its name, Pinewood’s student-led literary arts magazine highlights excellent student writing and art from the Pinewood community. 

For the fourth consecutive year, last year’s edition of Tabula Rasa was declared first place winner in the American Scholastic Press Association Newspaper and Literary Arts Magazine Contest. Additionally, it received a rating of “excellent” from the National Council of Teachers in English at the 2022 REALM (Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines) Awards. Current editor in chief Samantha Hsiung, who worked as an editor for last year’s issue, appreciated the recognition for the team’s efforts.

“It was nice to see that all our hard work paid off, and it was a pleasure working to create something so cohesive and so representative of the literary and arts community at Pinewood,” Hsiung said of the honors.

This year, the publication has expanded. English and history teacher Holly Coty has joined as a new advisor, and a number of new students have joined the club as editors. Hsiung says the expansion came due to a new focus on making the arts more accessible to students at Pinewood. 

“We want more people to be engaged in the literary arts community at Pinewood, and the best way to do that is by providing students opportunities to get involved,” Hsiung said.

With this year’s issue scheduled for publication in May 2023, Hsiung hopes to experiment more with the physical look of the magazine.

“Last year’s [issue] was phenomenal, but there were still areas where we could’ve been more innovative and inventive,” Hsiung said. “I definitely want to play around more with fonts and full page spreads.”

As far as a message to future prospective Tabula Rasa submitters, advisor David Wells had a simple suggestion: Just submit. Whether it be a piece of writing from your classes or any artwork that fits the theme, they can’t wait to see it.

“[We] look forward to submissions of writing and artwork from students of all grades,” Wells said.