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Big appetite for literary magazine

PINE PLAINS — The literary output in the Harlem Valley just got a little more competitive, as students from Seymour Smith Elementary School recently published their fourth issue of “The Cookie Jar,” a yearly publication highlighting extracurricular writing and artwork from some of Pine Plains’ finest.

“The Cookie Jar” has grown in size and quality since its inception several years ago, explained parent advisor Chris Losee. Losee and his wife, Kim Schaye, who are both writers themselves, started the magazine in 2008.

Any student can submit work to the magazine. A dedicated group of students in second, third and fourth grade have been meeting every Friday after school in the library to discuss published literary work as well as their own writing.

“You never know what the kids will say,” Losee said. “They talk about what they want to talk about.”

Many students have published multiple pieces in “The Cookie Jar,” ranging from short stories to poems to artwork. Animals were a constant source of inspiration for many pieces, both imaginary (like Gavin McKenzie’s “Southern Dragons”) and very real (Samantha St. Germain’s “The Real Story”).

The students gathered in the library last Friday, May 7, for a final time this year. They read out loud from the magazine, raced to get as many authors’ autographs for their front covers as possible, and (of course) enjoyed a few homemade cookies.

“They’re a great bunch of kids,” Schaye said. “They worked well together, and everything from layout to voting on the cover art was really by them.”

“I liked being here because I love writing,” said fourth-grader Samantha St. Germain. “[Losee and Schaye] always give me good writing challenges every week.”

“We’re hoping that ‘The Cookie Jar’ comes back next year,” Seymour Smith Principal Richard Azoff said, stopping in to see the students’ hard work.

Losee replied affirmatively that they intend to.

Editors of this year’s issue of “The Cookie Jar” were Madyson Black, Emma Hotaling, Juliana Losee, Samantha Losee, Gavin McKenzie, Mikayla Quinn, Emma Schaeffer and Samantha St. Germain. Additional contributors were Sierra Kapple, Heather Bay, Cassidy Clark, Molly Lacourse, Gavin Boggs, Juan Santos and teacher Jill Swinton.

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