At the end of a typical school year, members of The Riverside Cannon gather to hand sew the pages of the annual literary magazine together. This year, without a physical magazine, they won’t be doing any sewing, but that doesn’t mean the content stops.
Instagram has served as the main way for The Cannon to share content during remote learning. The literary magazine accepts 2D or 3D artwork, music, dance, theater, or writing submissions from students.
“One of the cool things about being digital is [you can publish] a lot of stuff that you couldn’t normally print – like, we have a dance team here at school,” club advisor and Riverside social studies teacher Alexander Groff said. “You can’t put them in a magazine, but because it’s on Instagram, we can.”
Riverside senior Lilian Grosshans is editor-in-chief of The Cannon. During remote learning, her main responsibilities involve creating infographics and maintaining a posting schedule for The Cannon’s social media.
“We all go over art submissions every week and choose the higher rated ones to go into the magazine,” Grosshans said.
“We rate [the submissions] based on how we feel about it,” fellow editor and Riverside senior Nakia Blackwell said. “We just rate it based off of if it’s really able to be put in a magazine.”
Blackwell herself joined The Cannon because she appreciated the artistic freedom that the literary magazine provided.
“I really love art, but doing art classes and art club, they don’t really give you the freedom to draw what you want,” she said. “I joined this club because you’re more free to draw what you want – and any art in general, like writing or music. It’s just much more freedom than a regular art class.”
Groff, who attended graduate school for graphic design, says he loves the literary magazine because it gives students the chance to be creative if they so choose.
“I hate seeing other people bored by things,” Groff said. “This is a club, students can do it if they want to. To me, that’s what makes it great. I’m always amazed by what students write or what students draw or what they create.”
The club’s latest project is called ‘We Are Riverside.’
“We’re trying to get people to tell personal stories, because I feel like especially this year, there’s not a lot of connection in the school because we’re not in school,” Groff said. “We’re all in our own spaces, so we’re trying to encourage people to share personal stories that help us get to know each other a little more, feel more like a community, and to make Riverside feel more connected.”
The greatest challenge, they say, is getting student submissions.
“There are a lot of students who doodle, draw, write poetry, and make creative stuff, but getting them to actually give it to us is really hard,” Groff said.
Students can submit to the literary magazine without being a club member, although new members are welcome. The Cannon can be found on Instagram @therhscannon.