BHS literary magazines reignite creativity through writing


The Redwood Literary and The Foundress, both student-made magazines at Berkeley High School, are starting up again this new school year. The Foundress is a BHS class, and publishes regularly on their website, and distributes hard copy editions at the end of the school year.

Redwood Literary Magazine, a club at BHS, writes short stories and poetry and publishes every quarter. It is student run, with Auden Svoboda serving as the magazine’s editor in chief. 

“(Redwood) is super fun,” said Claudia Johnson, a senior who joined Redwood as a freshman and joined the Foundress class this year. “(At Redwood) we get to read each other’s writing, you get a lot of feedback on everything that you do. (We) publish pretty often, so you get lots of chances to write.”

According to Johnson, writing for the BHS magazines improves writing skills. She said, “It helps because you get to improve your editing skills for yourself and know how to give constructive feedback to yours as well.” 

Ms. Faur, a teacher at BHS, teaches literary magazine, English for English language newcomers, and is the creator of the literacy magazine class. Faur explained that she created the course three years ago. Any teacher can decide to create an elective if they feel the desire to do so. The job of the teacher is then to create a curriculum, and get it approved by the school district. The literary magazine class serves both as an elective, and a way to get credit for English class. It is in this class that students create and publish the BHS literary magazine, The Foundress. 

“I like (The Foundress) a lot. We’re doing a lot of writing, which I feel like I don’t do very much in English classes,” said Otto Harris, a senior in Academic Choice, who is taking the class this year.

The Foundress focuses heavily on the craft of fiction, short story and flash fiction at the beginning of the school year. Until mid year, where the class focuses more with creative nonfiction and poetry.

“We develop that body of work over the course of the year, we assemble the website, and then we do one hardcopy per year,” said Faur. “That hardcopy gets distributed for free amongst students … we get like a couple 100 copies of it and we sort of spread it around that way.” 

The Foundress hardcopy is the official magazine with at least one story submitted from each writer in the class. The magazine is also filled with art and photography. “We have an art department and they work on both creating art for the magazine as well as soliciting submissions and managing artists from photography, video production. All of the art classes are encouraged to submit,” said Faur.

Sol De Ugarte, a senior in AC, has been on the Redwood Literary magazine since their freshman year, and has now been promoted to be an editor, where they edit other peoples stories as well as write their own stories.

“We kind of have like a peer editing situation,” said De Ugarte “So like, everybody edits each other’s work, but the editors are the first ones to like, do broader comments … the editors are like a starting point.”

The mission of both of these BHS Magazines are to help students find their creative voices and be able to share it with people. Creative writing, short stories, and poetry are arts of writing that most students who have regular English classes don’t do as often as non fiction. “We just don’t write enough creative writing in school,” said Faur.

People who are not taking the Foundress class are also invited to submit a piece of writing to the magazine’s website. Students have the opportunity to submit as many times as they want.

“(The Foundress class) is a writing intensive, serious English class. It’s not like a workshop where people just come in and hang out and do whatever they want. It’s actually a very structured class, and sometimes students aren’t prepared for that,” said Faur. “A lot of students who don’t think they’re writers at first really discover a passion from being committed to their own creative work,” she said.