History of the Torch

A Brief Look at How the Torch has Evolved

Story By: Mareena Emran, Advertising Editor

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The Torch magazine wasn’t always the prize-winning, 32 page, full color, hybrid, newsmagazine that it is today. The school’s news used to be delivered to students in a newspaper with around 12 pages and a staff of four writers and four photographers. As the years went by, the newspaper transformed from the minuscule eight to 23 staff members and is read all over the district.

One of the earliest known Torch editions dates back to November 17, 2005. The full name of the publication was actually “The Torch”, and the feature story written was “Cross Country Girls Make a Run for State.” Some secondary coverage included in this edition was “7 Questions”, an interview style column asking seven questions to a student or teacher about their hobbies, favorite sports, and the scariest thing they’d ever done. Student artwork filled the pages of the newspaper, and photos from student events were featured on the last page. Events included: Homecoming, spirit week, the Cross Country meet, the First Fall Ball, and the first play put on by the Spartans which was Dirty Works at the Crossroad.

“The newspaper from 2005 looks like an antique,” first-year Torch staff member Eunbee Chu said. “But the Torch magazine right now is more colorful and features more student stories. The fonts are super basic in the original as well, and if I were reading this back in 2005 I would be interested in the stories but from a modern perspective it looks kind of boring.”

The 2006 edition of The Torch didn’t include very much color either; however, it had a more diverse range of student stories. One eye-catching feature in this newspaper was “What’s Hot”, a collection of fashion items that were staples back in 2006. Some items included wedge sandals, braided accessories, and chandelier earrings.

The Torch continued to print newspapers up until 2013. The 2014-2015 school year called for a huge transition for the publication. This is where the abbreviated “Torch” showed up on a full colored magazine with a nine-membered staff.

“The year before I joined newspaper, the staff at the time made the first magazine style of the Torch for the class’ senior edition. I remember seeing it and getting really excited about being on the newspaper the next year and getting the chance to not only write, but also get to experiment with different designs,” 2017 graduate Kiara Reyes said. “It was really cool to see how people responded to the new format, and over the years, more and more people started to recognize the magazine.”

Reyes was a layout editor in the first ever Torch magazine, which featured articles such as “College Apps Advice”, an editorial piece titled “Menu Mayhem” about the restricted calorie foods that the school offered at lunch at the time, and a feature piece about the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. The publication’s first ever issue was dedicated to Williams in which a portrait of him was laid out on the cover, along with the quote, “being in the same room with people and creating something together is a good thing.”

Since 2015, the magazine went through many different design phases, and ultimately, became a vivid, eye-catching publication with stories ranging from the school’s events, politics of modern-day America, editorials on social injustices, and even the possible extinction of bees.

“The next two years (after the first four issues of the Torch came out), I definitely noticed that a lot more people were excited about seeing the magazines when they came out, and with a bigger staff, we were able to have more stories and ideas that people were excited to read about,” said Reyes.

The Torch magazine also did a special edition on the August 2017 superstorm Hurricane Harvey and won second place in the National Scholastic Press Association’s Best of Show category.

The Torch magazine has a bright future ahead of its recent website implementation in 2016. The staff has an editor for the online edition, who regulates and publishes works of SLHS Press daily. The print edition carries two co-editors in chief, two copy editors, and an advertising editor who regulates the number of pages and spending costs within the publication. The full staff of 23 work together to create the Torch magazine and the Torch online for all students to view anytime.

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