Columbia High School’s Guildscript takes top honors at competition

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MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The 2022 Guildscript art and literary magazine at Columbia High School won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association contest. The annual magazine received high marks in design, organization and presentation. According to the ASPA, Guildscript exhibited “superior efforts of talented and creative editors, writers, artists, photographers, layout/graphic designers, staff members and advisers.” The ASPA also commented that the “ability to keep your publication alive and printing during a pandemic is a testament to your dedication and devotion to your publication, school (and) community.”

For the 2022 edition of the magazine, the editor in chief was 2022 graduate Kate Kampner; the managing editor was Nina Krauss, a current CHS senior; and the art and photo editor was Pilar Uhl, also a current CHS senior. The advisers were LauraLee Lubrano and Cindy Malhotra.

According to Malhotra, who has been a club adviser for art and design since 2006, anyone in the community can purchase a copy of Guildscript by reaching out to involved students or club advisers. Malhotra and her current co-adviser, Carly Buckholtz, who oversees the literary side of the club, hope to sell copies at local businesses eventually, as well.

“The Guildscript members are a cross-section of Columbia students who share a passion for creative expression. They are committed to the process of creating a quality publication representative of the fine and literary arts at CHS,” Malhotra told the News-Record. “After dealing with virtual school for so long, it was important to see Guildscript back in print. Mr. (James) Manno, fine arts supervisor, and Mr. (Frank) Sanchez, the principal, were both very supportive. 

“I love seeing the reaction club members have when they finally hold the culmination of all their hard work in their hands. It’s a way of leaving a tangible creative mark on CHS and represents that school year,” she continued.

Buckholtz encourages CHS students to get involved.

“The GuildScript Writers Group is an open-door Tuesday meeting led by senior Nina Krauss and junior Molly Hurley, who create new writing prompts each week for the group to work with,” Buckholtz told the News-Record. “Students from across all grade levels and interest in writing attend, workshopping original drafts from the prompts as well as their own portfolios, followed by constructive peer feedback. The Writers Group meets year-round to nurture individual authorship, while the magazine staff, which is led by editor in chief Ajuni Zubieta, and managing editors Daphne Robbins and Makayla Ojentis, works throughout the year to develop a concept and edit submitted student work into the magazine.”

Kampner, who led Guildscript last school year as editor in chief, joined the literary magazine after being a member of the creative writing club in her sophomore year. 

“My favorite part of the club is how welcoming everyone is, how it’s such a safe space for being able to share their writing,” Kampner told the News-Record. “It’s important to share writing when it’s still in the draft process, and this club makes it so easy and comfortable to do so.”

As editor in chief, Kampner was responsible for organizing the editorial meetings and documents. She also helped make final decisions with the club’s advisers. 

“Along with all of that, I also made sure the editorial team felt like their opinions on the pieces were valued and made sure to consider any/all suggestions,” she said. “I really loved the role. I loved creating a hardworking and comfortable space for everyone where we could accomplish something we were proud of.”

Kampner is proud of how she and her peers were able to bring the magazine back to print, instead of just online, after the school buildings reopened, having been closed due to the pandemic. Looking back on her tenure as editor in chief, Kampner says her advice for current students looking to contribute to Guildscript is to write.

“Write something that feels like you. Write about your experiences or maybe your dreams. Write about what you had for breakfast or a conversation you overheard,” Kampner said. “Guildscript looks for pieces that feel unique and individual, but at the same time represent Columbia’s student body.”

Uhl, the magazine’s art and design editor in 2022, got involved with the club following a prod from Malhotra.

“I was taking computer graphics with Ms. Malhotra, and I knew she ran the art/design section of the magazine. One day after class she told me that the Guildscript was starting work soon and was in need of some editors. That same day after school I showed up for the meeting,” Uhl told the News-Record, adding that she then loved the collaborative effort among the magazine’s staff. “I loved seeing the sheer amount of students who chipped in to help. Every person who submitted their work meant something to me because they contributed to something I grew to care so much about.”

As art and design editor, Uhl got to review all of the art submissions, format the chosen art works and match them all with writing pieces. And she truly loves seeing the submissions.

“I think that the fact that it’s made up of the work of students is an important factor that greatly influences the final result. The students who submit their work aren’t trying to be professional and polished — they’re creating from the heart,” Uhl said, adding that students should not hesitate to get involved. “Just submit it! Guildscript is only possible because of the helping hands of every student. Every piece you want to submit will be appreciated, and those submissions make the magazine possible.”

Photos Courtesy of Cindy Malhotra

Caption 1: The Guildscript art and design committee features, pictured, Pilar Uhl, Andrew Teitelbaum, Johnathan Smith, Molly Donohue and Sydney Mannion, and, not pictured, Mariel Amador, Antara Islam and Natalie Urusov.

Caption 2: Guildscript’s editorial board is led by, pictured, Izzy Morgan, Kate Kampner, Natalie Urusov, Benjamin Gevirtz, Emmi Beemer, Ryan Gaykowski, Ajuni Zubieta, Okherra Prosper, Kamaria Graham, Daphne Robbins and Nina Krauss, and, not pictured, Sara Spangler and Anna Roth.

Caption 3: The Guildscript Writers Club features, pictured, Kate Kampner, Nina Krauss, Daphne Robbins, Izzy Morgan, Sophie Kessler, Kamaria Graham, Sara Spangler, Noa Gida, Lulu Manchester, Ryan Gaykowski, Ciara Navan and Natalie Urusov, and, not pictured, Ajuni Zubieta, Ben Gevirtz and Jarrett Jackson.