Germantown, Tennesee--October 14, 2019--The AVATAR, Houston High School's literary magazine is a long-standing tradition that showcases poems, essays, and artwork of its students. Helmed by English teacher Karen Garrison, the “lit mag” provides an inexpensive and creative way for students to publish their works into a printed magazine. These publications provide a great opportunity for students to write creatively and explore topics outside of the classroom.
For over thirty years, Karen Garrison has taught English classes at Houston High School. Seeing the need to recognize Houston High’s many talented poets, writers and artists, Garrison began a Literary Magazine.
Garrison jokes around in her website biography that, “during the lean years, she and former Vice Principal Evelyn Harris collated the cardstock booklets by hand on the floor of Harris’s classroom before the dreaded spiral binding was applied”. However, as early as 2003, the Houston High publication received national recognition from both the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
This year is no exception. The NCTE program to recognize excellence in student literacy magazines by evaluating and ranking middle school, junior high, and high school publications has chosen AVATAR as a finalist again.
Last year, out of 358 entries, the organization only selected 28 REALM First Class recipients. To be awarded the highest distinction high schools submit their magazines and are given a score out of 100 possible points. Only magazines with scores higher than 93 points are considered for the REALM First Class award.
Houston High School was nominated for the REALM First Class for their 2018-2019 edition of AVATAR. This is the second consecutive year the literary magazine has earned a score high enough to qualify for the national distinction. The national competition will be judged in January at the NCTE conference.