Beyond Words aims to encourage creativity and acceptance at WA


Simrah Azmi

Beyond Words stands together in front of their daily agenda.

Simrah Azmi, Staff Writer

At an academically rigorous school like WA, where grades, homework, and achieving scholastic success often seem to be at the forefront, it can be difficult to allow oneself to relax and spend time on hobbies like art, writing, or music, simply for the sake of fun.

The Beyond Words Literary Club, however, is looking to change this mindset. This club, which meets every Thursday after school in room 132, works on an annual magazine that is published near the end of each school year. The magazine consists of various creative submissions from WA students in the form of art, photography, short stories, music, and more.

While the finished magazine is the club’s concrete yearly goal, its true aim is to foster a more supportive environment for the school’s artists and encourage creativity.

“Beyond Words is an art and literary magazine. That’s our end product, to create the online magazine,” executive board member Natalie Strauss said. “But we’re really just gathering the creativity the school has and trying to fuel that creative energy around the building and celebrate some of the talents we have.”

Fitting with the club’s desire to give people a space to destress and do what they enjoy, the meetings are quite laid-back and not rigidly structured. Although prompts are often provided for inspiration, club members are free to work on their own personal projects, pop their earbuds in, enjoy snacks, and just chat with fellow artists, creating an easygoing atmosphere.

“It’s just a really nice place to unwind after school,” board member Meghan Gardner said. “You can just create for a while.”

The club also has a very welcoming environment. Students passing by who poke their heads in during meetings to see what’s happening are met with waves, smiles, and invitations to join. A quick glance around the room reveals people having lively conversations, complimenting each other, joking around, and offering various interpretations of everyone’s work, never veering into judgmental territory.

“I think as a space, [the club] is very accepting,” board member Haasini Paparaju said. “Everyone has their own thing and I think because we’re so experimental in what we do. Everyone has a chance to get out what they feel.”

A major component of the club, aside from actually creating art, is providing students with the opportunity to critique one another’s work; for example, when they review submissions to the magazine or share what they’ve created during a meeting with everyone. This encourages more collaboration among members of the club, enables them to gain inspiration as well as support from their peers, and hone useful editing skills.

“[There are] a lot of people who love editing as well as critiquing work, finding ways to make it better,” Paparaju said. “and I think because Beyond Words is unique in that it’s a student-run magazine, […] people who join the club also get the opportunity [to do so], even if the actual writing is not their thing.”

The final product, therefore, is not only a reflection of the incredible creativity of WA students, but also dedication and passion from the club members. They put lots of hard work into making sure the finished Beyond Words magazine puts a spotlight on all the artwork that often goes unrecognized.

“There are really talented people in the school which you don’t really get to see on a regular basis,” board member Arinee Kaul said. “So it’s really cool to see a compiled thing of all the amazing, talented people we have.”

By encouraging appreciation for artwork, the Beyond Words club works to create a more accepting atmosphere at WA where a variety of interests and passions can be celebrated. They want to motivate people to feel comfortable with themselves, and hope to provide many more students with a place where they can embrace the things they truly love.

“I feel like I get to be my best self and who I want to be most, like express myself the most, through this club,” Strauss said. “I would love to share the space and let other people be their true, unbridled, unapologetic selves.”