Crest magazine moves into a new era

Watercolor painting by Indigo Field

Watercolor painting by Indigo Field

Crest, Oak Park and River Forest High School’s literary magazine, went online for the first time this month to make room for more student submissions and a larger variety of genres.

Senior Heidi Enger has been on the Crest staff since her freshman year and is now the editor-in-chief. She first introduced the idea of a Crest website during her junior year, when she pitched it to former faculty sponsor Lauren Lee. Although the Crest staff acknowledged that the website was a good idea, it wasn’t until this past school year the website began to come together.

Under a new faculty sponsor, English teacher Jamie Sieck, Crest officially launched the site. It is now online at, and includes sections dedicated to visual art, poetry, narrative writing, photography, fashion, music and film. Submissions are ongoing.

In addition to the website, Crest will continue to issue a print magazine once per year. Submissions for the print magazine are due March 24.

Sieck has been teaching at OPRF for about 10 years. “I’m a big believer in students having an opportunity to be creative and express their voices and stories,” he said. For him, Crest is about giving students that outlet.

Once he was appointed the new Crest sponsor, Sieck decided to expand the club and make it more accessible. Previously, students had to audition to join the Crest staff. By getting rid of the auditioning process, “…there was room for us to expand the club so more kids could get access to it,” he said.

The website was another way to expand Crest’s reach and make room for more voices.

It allows for students to submit to Crest year round while also allowing a wider variety of students to see their work online. The diversity of submissions allowed on the website is also one of the most notable aspects of it. “We’re going to have new mediums that we weren’t previously able to publish such as, music, film, dance and fashion,” Sieck added.

Another big change to Crest this year was the digital archive, which Enger and Sieck have built together.

“We have copies as far back as 2001,” said Enger, who is enthusiastic about showcasing the website as not only a digital platform for newer magazine submissions, but also an archive for the old. Crest has copies dating back even further than 2001 which Enger hopes to incorporate to the digital archive as time goes on. She said she hopes to expand the archive and make it a resource for the school and the Oak Park and River Forest community.

After discovering Crest when she came to OPRF to see the student activity fair during eighth grade, Enger said she knew it was the club for her.

She was admitted onto the staff after a series of auditions and found herself in “just a great community,” she said. Now that she is an upperclassman, Enger still finds the same passion and excitement towards Crest and the club as it has further developed.

Manuela Pecoraro-Hernandez has been on Crest since their freshman year and is now a senior editor on the staff. Given their background interest in the arts, Pecoraro-Hernandez was extremely pleased to be accepted onto the staff. They are in charge of helping to “organize page layout, think about colors and fonts, and create merch designs.”

Being on Crest for their second year, Pecoraro-Hernandez loves that the publication can finally have an online presence. “It’s a wonderful way to branch out with the mediums we use to share art and allows earlier editions of Crest to be made accessible to those who previously had no way to view them.”

Senior editor Jake DiMaso has taken on her second year with Crest. After joining the staff during her junior year, DiMaso loves the positive environmentsaying, “It’s a lot of fun! The people on the staff are really interesting, and what we make at the end of the year is pretty cool.”

During Crest meetings, DiMaso described the environment as busy, with the staff scoring submissions, working on the cover design and website, and organizing “Crest talks” to encourage other students to join.

DiMaso was thrilled when she learned about the website for Crest because of the new opportunity and expansion it brings. For the paper magazine, “we are stuck to the confines of a page,” DiMaso said. This new website and archive allow room for a larger variety of submissions.

DiMaso encouraged students to submit, and said, “You have nothing to lose. It’s a great opportunity to show off your work.”

Pecoraro-Hernandez said, “The great thing about Crest is the reliable audience it provides the artists, who make the magazine what it is. Without student art there would be no Crest.”

Enger said, “Crest has been around since 1895. Ernest Hemingway was published in it, and you can call yourself a published artist on college applications.”