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Oct. 10, 2014

Silver Quest on track to be revived

by Kalin Vassilev, Technical Staff
After a lengthy period of stagnation, Silver Quest is finally set for a comeback. The publication, which used to come out at the end of each year, focuses on Magnet-related issues and events. Magnet Coordinator Peter Ostrander has organized a group of writers spanning all grade levels to help in its revitalization.

Silver Quest was first published in 1989 as a way of keeping a record of the students' achievements and activities during their time in Blair's magnet. "It was meant to highlight the work the students did, and as the seniors were going away, it gave them a memento," Ostrander said. "It had where the seniors would be going to school, little pieces about what was happening during that time. Some of the research papers were in there as well."

Even though it was at first led by teacher advisors, Silver Quest became largely autonomous, headed by student editors who decided the layout, content and deadlines. Due to this, Silver Quest often shifted in purpose and content from year to year. Some years were filled with teacher features as new staff members joined; others were dominated by research projects. The publication reflected the year's highlights as well as the writers' preferences. "You can see a little bit of history in some of the more recent ones. When there were budget cuts being faced, there were articles about these cuts. It does really speak to the history of the program, what it's about," Ostrander said.

It was the student's autonomy that led to Silver Quest's downfall in 2011; chosen editors would simply hand down their position to people they deemed worthy. "There wasn't really any advisor to maintain it year after year and so the editors were chosen by the previous staff," Ostrander said. "What eventually happened was that there were a couple of years where there were editors chosen but they didn't give us a final product." The lack of something to publish and the decrease in organization led to a period of confusion for Silver Quest. "Last year we didn't even know who the supposed editors were; that's why we decided to formalize it a little bit," Ostrander said.

Hoping to avert the recurring problems, Ostrander explained that there would be consistent staff involvement, at least for a while. "I think that this first year, in my work with the editors, I'll try to impose some of the deadlines," he said.

Computer science teacher Lola Piper views the revival as an opportunity for students to express other skill sets. "This allows some people that are in a literary vein or a writing vein or a publishing vein who can't do the yearbook or the newspaper due to other commitments. This would give them an opportunity to do that in the small compact world of the magnet," Piper said.

A preliminary meeting has already been held and the resulting response of interested writers seems to be a good sign for Silver Quest. The hope is that soon enough the publication will be back to a driven student-run organization. "We're really just trying to reinvigorate it and establish some people that are involved, including some underclassmen," Ostrander said. "Hopefully we'll again start to ease off of adult involvement. That's the idea, we'll see if it works."



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