Where photographs capture a moment frozen in time, writings capture a feeling. For Pensacola Christian College, the spirit of campus in years past has been captured in the annual student publication Fountains, with this year marking the publication’s 30th anniversary.
Former English faculty Becky Bucy, along with Dr. Phyllis Rand, both had a hand in beginning the student publication 30 years ago. “The first year that the class Advanced Copy Editing (PW 404) was offered, administration asked me to teach it,” Bucy recalled. “At Dr. Rand’s encouragement, and to give the students practical application to the publishing world, I asked if we could produce a magazine that the students would edit using selections from the creative writing class. I submitted my project as a sample, and administration approved! We had huge support from the administration and, by God’s grace, it all came together.”
Students taking PW 404 begin the class by working through student-submitted essays, short stories, and poems, choosing only 20 to 25 of them to include in the publication. From there, over the course of the semester, each student assumes a role within the class whether as an editor who works with a student author, a fact checker, or senior editor. The finished compositions, introductions, and pull quote ideas are then arranged into an orderly manuscript and handed off to AR 326, a class taken by both graphic design and studio art students. This publications practicum class then takes the manuscript and typesets the text, creates illustrations, and designs the cover. Once the printed journal arrives back from press, the Advanced Copy Editing class organizes a fun and creative book launch that takes place in the upper Commons.
This year’s edition of Fountains includes stories that cause readers to reflect on their own situations by “diving deeper” into the experiences of others and learning from them. In the 30th edition, senior editors Hannah Edwards (Professional Writing ’18) and Grace Shaffer (Professional Writing’18) summarize this year’s theme: “While different plots and voices emerge within this collection of stories, one thread ties them together: the characters seek for something deeper, learning to brave new directions.”
“More than anything, I stress the privilege of using our writing and editing skills to honor Christ,” said Mark Wainwright, the instructor of PW 404. “The Fountains literary journal remains a creative, inspirational, and uplifting publication. Through its pages, readers recognize that ’the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life’ (Proverbs 14:27). The 30th Fountains edition contains a number of outstanding narratives and personal essays. Some are laugh-out-loud hilarious, while others prompt serious self-reflection.”
In AR 326, the manuscript is the centerpiece of the cover art and layout design based on the themes described by the writers. To develop all of the features in Fountains, the three sections of the class divide the design work, each working on and submitting a cover design to compete against the other classes’ designs. Once the artwork is chosen, all three sections work together to adhere to the colors and style through the page design, illustrations, and advertisements. Visual arts faculty Stephen Kozel, an instructor for the class, said, “Learning to work in a group and taking part in different leadership roles will help the students develop collaborative skills that they will need in their future careers.”
In the publication, readers will find colorful illustrations of the stories tastefully sprinkled throughout. “We created a style guide with specific colors, fonts, layout parameters, and design elements already inside of it,” said Johanan Cartwright (Jr., Bahamas), one of the student leaders of AR 326 and cover designer of this year’s Fountains. “Then we had all of the designers use this for their individual sections. After the final layout was completed, three lead designers came together and went through the entire design with a fine tooth comb for the next few weeks. It is a challenging class; but seeing the book, my book, printed was one of the best feelings from an art class I’ve ever received.”
English faculty Jennifer Miller, production manager for PW 404, took the class herself as a student and recognizes the role Fountains has had on PCC’s campus. “More than just connecting students with other students during the semester, Fountains connects current students to past generations,” she said. “Since this is the 30th edition of Fountains, thirty different classes have worked to edit stories and poetry geared toward bringing honor to Christ and encouraging the student body. Both Mr. Wainwright and I have served as Fountains editors in the past, and we thoroughly enjoy helping continue this tradition as a valuable part of PCC culture.”
The senior editors working on the 31st edition of Fountains for next year described what the student publication has meant to them as fellow student writers: “The stories featured in Fountains often become the voice of the student body,” said Jenneth Dyck (Sr., VA). “It represents our struggles, our successes, and most importantly our faith. It’s an amazing endeavor to be a part of, and I’ve enjoyed every part of the process.”
“Fountains has inspired me because I could see and read the stories my classmates were writing. I think it’s exciting to see how our personal writing styles have developed over the years,” said Janise Anderson (Sr., MI). “[It] brings students a sense of connection because it’s written by students for students. It’s a beautiful blend of writing abilities, editing skills, and visual creativity.”
Regardless of one’s preferred role as a reader or a writer, students can find themselves tossed back into the days of past student bodies through any edition of Fountains, each sharing the stories, struggles, praises, and poems of the time. Jennifer Miller described this best—“Fountains represents history, and history is valuable.”