The highly anticipated High Grade release party, which took place on the evening of Friday Apr. 19, debuted the forty-third edition of the High Grade Journal of the Arts. The event was held at the Foothills Art Center Garden, and drew 140 students, staff, faculty, alumni, family, and friends to celebrate the journal.
Original music from students Andrew Fletcher and Josef Bourgeios bookended the evening’s readings. Contributors read samples of their original fiction and poetry, and student resident poet Aurora Borghi’s poem “Void” introduced the themes of each of the journal’s three sections. The cover and section designs were created by student resident artist Michael Le.
Connor Weddle, a senior in mechanical engineering and Editor in Chief of High Grade, was pleased with the forty-third edition. He described the journal’s overarching theme as a coming-of-age story set in uncertain times.
“We wanted to give more thought about the overall design and the arc of the journal,” stated Weddle on the layout process. “Starting about two or three years ago, we increased emphasis on not just the pieces in the journal but how they flowed together, what kind of storyline was told throughout the journal when it’s read cover-to-cover. I really wanted to give emphasis to that and spend more time thinking about that.”
Weddle headed a mostly new student editorial board this year.
“It was a learning experience for me and a lot the people involved. The vast majority of our editorial board was brand-new. Relearning the process with a new group of people was a big challenge for the year. It was rewarding for the whole team to see that kind of support.”
Weddle was also pleased to see the release party’s impacts on the student attendees. He saw the event as a success in terms of outreach for the greater Mines community.
“I saw a lot of people at the event who don’t consider themselves creative people in the traditional sense, but were invited to the party by friends or other contributors, or they knew someone in the journal,” stated Weddle on the party’s impact. “I had people come up to me and say ‘hey, I didn’t think this would be my thing but I loved it’ and that was really rewarding. There’s a lot of people who aren’t normally exposed to such a creative environment and seeing them enjoy it was great.”
Weddle hopes High Grade’s emphasis on creative expression grows with Mines. “There’s a lot of events on campus that draw a lot of students, but having an event that draws a lot of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, that’s really unique to the release party and you don’t see that anywhere else in any Mines events that I can think of. That’s where I see a lot of value in the event.”
Weddle and the student editorial board are excited for the rest of the Mines community to read the journal after the release party’s success.
“I think the party went really well, It’s sometimes surprising, in a good way, to see the amount of support we get from all facets of Mines,” stated Weddle. “I was happy with it, I was very happy with it.”