Maclay upper school students crowded around the stage in Langford Hall, eager to witness the release of the new issue on Dec. 9. Contrary to the likes of “People,” “Vogue” and “The New Yorker,” this literary magazine was published, edited, curated and created by the Maclay student run publication, Notes From the Underground (NFTU). 

Entering its fifth year of establishment in spring of 2022, NFTU serves as a student oriented publication that collects poetry, essays and artwork from the vast Maclay student body. Developed to showcase the literary and artistic talents of students, the publication showcases the diverse voices and opinions of the Maclay community that are articulated through literature. 

“I would say that we have a value towards our students submitting, so we always take a Maclay student’s word,” Fiction Editor Mercy Crapps said. “[NFTU] really shows the diverse talents and perspectives of Maclay School, which is great to be a part of.”

Crapps, along with eleven other seniors, juniors and sophomores are a part of the publication’s editorial staff. Led by senior Editor-in-Chief Kate Krizner, NFTU’s staff are the first to read and evaluate submissions that the publication receives. 

“I love working with so many different people every time I make an issue,” Krizner said. “Coming into contact with people who I didn’t even know wrote or created art gives us a deeper connection than otherwise I would get with my peers.” 

This year Krizner and her team pushed the boundaries of NFTU further, as the fall 2021 publication was filled with a number of both on-campus and international submissions. To coincide with the submissions from the Maclay community, the magazine also had submissions from three international students. Despite being separated from NFTU by thousands of miles, their artistic and literary voices could still be heard and shared to Maclay upper school readers. 

“I was first brought on the staff last year to create a website for the journal to try and promote to everyone being able to see the journal nationwide and internationally,” web designer and finance manager Trevor Gross said. “And since then, we’ve been able to get submissions from all across America. We even have some from Zimbabwe and Australia.” 

Besides the diverse numbers of submissions in literature and art, NFTU’s fall 2021 edition contained a featured section which told the stories of domestic abuse and sexual assault surviors. The section was added after the editorial staff visited a shelter which housed survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse. As a result of the emotionally exhausting meetings, the staff formed personal connections with the women and showcased the survival and strength of their stories. 

“I think the diversity of our work especially in this issue gave us the ability to focus on an important topic,” Krizner said. “I think it needs to be brought awareness to tend to, and we have the freedom to do that.” 

As planning is already underway for the spring 2022 edition, the Maclay community and NFTU editorial staff are enthusiastic about the publication’s issues to come. 

“[NFTU] helps me read into other people’s minds,” Crapps said. “ I feel like there’s so many creative people in Maclay and I just love reading a great essay and being like, ‘Oh I know this person, they are in my physics class. I can’t believe they wrote something that’s so amazing.’”