One day, early in 2020, my sophomore year, I was talking to my parents about school activities and how to get more involved in my school community. I had thought about the school newspaper; however, I didn’t want to write an article in English. I thought about my love for other languages and how it would be cool if I could write a whole article in Spanish. Then the idea struck me — I would like to start a foreign language magazine!
With the amazing foreign language department at Hall High School, I knew a foreign language magazine would be a success. My school has a robust language department that includes American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. I started thinking about how a magazine like this would look, how I could get it started, and how I could best showcase the languages taught at school. I have taken Spanish since 6th grade and Latin since 9th grade.
To start a club at Hall High School, a student needs to find an advisor, obtain signatures of 10 interested students, describe the club idea, and then petition it for formal approval. Because I take both Spanish and Latin, I have had several foreign language teachers, and I decided to approach Meghan Kebernick (who coincidentally teaches both Spanish and Latin). She was my freshman year Latin I teacher!
After Ms. Kebernick agreed to be the advisor, I started to think about the best medium for publishing the magazine. I initially thought about a print magazine, but after researching the cost to print a paper magazine, I realized an online magazine would work better and have the potential to reach a larger audience. Also, an online magazine is better suited to showcase American Sign Language because of the ability to have videos!
In an initial club meeting, while brainstorming with other members of the club, I offered the name “Gladiatores” for the name of the magazine. Gladiatores, with an “es,” is Latin for Warriors, which is our school’s mascot! Latin is the root of many languages, including English, so I think that a Latin name properly represents the language department and my school.
To initially form and spread the word about Gladiatores, I worked with Ms. Kebernick to reach out to teachers of each of the five languages taught at Hall to find editors for each language. Ms. Kebernick and I decided to set up each language with one main editor and two assistant editors. This spring, I created a new position for two underclassmen to be development editors for each language. These development editors train under the main language editors to become more involved in the magazine. I separately meet with the development editors for each edition, and I am in constant contact with them through email. I check in with them and solicit feedback, and they are all happy with their involvement and look forward to teaching the readers about many cultures and languages. We are planning for these underclassmen to become editors in future years and continue the tradition we have started. Overall, we have a team of 27 editors, plus additional staff members! I know that when I graduate from Hall next year, Gladiatores will live on!
We publish the magazine with one section for each of the five languages. We use Google Sites for each edition (see latest publication linked below). It is simple to use, and we have a student who is the Website Designer who is responsible for managing the website. She organizes the different tabs and sets up the website, so the editors can put in their submissions.
The submissions are edited by each editor prior to putting them into the website. The editors are knowledgeable about the language to edit submissions, and the editors work with teachers if they have any further grammatical questions. The language’s editors work together to check each other’s work and review their section. Because the submissions are in different languages, there is no one person who can check all of the submissions, so the editors and corresponding teachers work together to ensure that all of the information is correct.
The content in the magazine includes class assignments and articles written specifically for Gladiatores. We also have memes for each language, and the homepage of every edition features an article about a holiday from each language’s culture that is celebrated around the publication date. We always are thinking about adding different types of content, including recipes, art, word searches, videos, and more.
The idea for Gladiatores started just before COVID-19 began. In addition to our first publication in the spring of 2020, we published four editions this school year and plan to continue with a quarterly publication schedule for the upcoming school year. A remote environment has been conducive to publishing Gladiatores during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all of our meetings virtually using Google Meets, and we are able to work independently. We look forward to when we can meet in person, but if Gladiatores had to be virtual forever, we could do it! In fact, we might continue to meet virtually for meetings next year.
We have enjoyed working with the language teachers at Hall and are thankful for their support; many teachers submit pieces of their students’ work to be published, and some even offer extra credit for submitting pieces! We have received a lot of praise for Gladiatores in all of our classes. One teacher even asked if we could start this at the middle school — although the Gladiatores team is too busy publishing our magazine at Hall, the idea can be replicated, and my team and I would love to show the middle schoolers how to establish and publish a foreign language magazine!
As with any extracurricular club, it is always a balancing act to maintain academics along with other activities. I take a lot of pride in working with the large Gladiatores team, knowing that it is impacting the school community, and ensuring that it will continue. The Gladiatores team is proud of what we have accomplished over the last year, and we are happy to leave a legacy at Hall High School, demonstrating the diverse and strong cultures at our school.
再见, au revoir, vale, adios!
By: Sophie Kudler
William H. Hall High School ‘22