OPUS’s Strides

What they are doing, and How you can be apart of it.

Sahithi Jammulamadaka, Editor-in-Chief

   As you walk through the halls, you can see the colorful and decorative posters on the walls advertising OPUS’s annual arts and literary magazine. The magazine displays poetry, photography, art, and short stories done by students at Oakton and are submitted to a panel of judges who then give awards for the most notable pieces from across the country. Oakton is a frequent recipient of those awards with many striking pieces of art and writing from all mediums. Following last year’s theme of Silver Linings, this year OPUS is exploring Strides, led by editors-in-chief Sydney Chen and Mackenzie Pacquing, and it will be exciting to see how students grab inspiration from this relevant theme.


Can you explain the theme of the magazine this year? 

Sydney Chen: The theme of the magazine is seen in the title we chose “Strides” and our idea was that heading into the new decade, a lot of progress for societal issues and equality has been made. However, we know that there is still a lot of work to be done before the end of the next decade. 

Mackenzie Pacquing: The title of this year’s edition is “Strides,” a word representing the progress we have made and the progress we will continue to make.


What was the thought process behind the theme?

Sydney Chen: We chose “strides” because it recognizes the progress we have made and the progress yet to be made. We are trying to emphasize the Oakton community’s efforts at mitigating global issues like climate change and highlight the diverse student body.

Mackenzie Pacquing: Because strides insinuates confidence and intent, we thought it was appropriate. Furthermore, it is the first magazine of the decade- ten years ago, there were several things that weren’t possible for many demographics and we wanted to honor the progress that has been made.


What can the readers expect from the magazine this year?
Sydney Chen: Each magazine is different, but each year we try to include a variety of art and writing. The writing mediums can truly differ from poems and prose to the lyrics of original and writing in different languages!

Mackenzie Pacquing: We hope it is something to remember! The writing will have a wide range of moods, but some of the pieces will resonate with the theme of “strides” and making progress.


What are some things you guys are most looking forward too?

Sydney Chen: We are looking forward to displaying the voices of Oakton in all creative forms!

Mackenzie Pacquing: We really loved the theme this year and we are most excited to start working on the cover design, how it will relate to the theme, and how it will incorporate with the rest of the magazine.


Have you guys made any noticeable changes in how the magazine is formatted?

Sydney Chen: We hope to use the theme of strides in our art gallery and show several unique pieces in it.


What kind of message are you hoping to send this year?

Mackenzie Pacquing: We want the people that read the magazine to understand that the arts are an incredibly soothing outlet for all types of emotions. Hopefully, the pieces will inspire people to create, whether it be out of happiness, the desire to change how the world is or any kind of emotion they feel is worth putting into words and art.


What is some general information about the judging process once the magazine is published?

Sydney Chen: “We submit the magazine to national competitions like national scholastic press association, Columbia press association, and VHSL. We know that these magazines appreciate clean designs and new ideas! We do our best to take the judges’ criticism and address it in the magazine!”

Mackenzie Pacquing: These competitions look for different things, but all of them look at the magazine and its elements as a whole and then they look at

the individual pieces.


   OPUS urges everyone to submit to the magazine to make your voice heard. Whether it be art, song, or writing there is room for everyone in the magazine and they are always looking for new ways to express Oakton’s creative voices. You can submit by finding the tear-a-tab flyers around the school or using this google form.