PawPrint Makes an Imprint on the VA Community, One Edition at a Time

Vermont Academy’s “PawPrint” is a student-run publication that features the writing, art, photography, and the creativity of our Wildcat community. Several editions are released each school year during the fall, winter, and spring, including special editions that usually spotlight a specific student contributor. Each year, a member of the graduating class oversees the sourcing, producing, and publishing of PawPrint, with the help of Humanities faculty member and Yearbook Advisor Whitney Barrett. This year, Khiêm Nguyen ’24 has been at the helm as Editor-in-Chief. The spring edition of PawPrint, entitled “Bloom,” releases on Friday, April 26.
Last year, when Jess Shapiro ’23 was leading PawPrint, Khiêm started as a junior editor before being chosen to be Jess’s successor. This year, he plans to announce who is taking over next year with the release of “Bloom.” 

The process begins with a concept created by the student leader, which varies in theme. Oftentimes the themes are inspired by the seasons. The fall issue’s pages were freckled with autumn leaves, and the winter edition was titled “Hibernation.” This year, two special editions were published. One entitled “Camera Lens” was dedicated to the works of photographer Yuliang “Raymond” Feng ’25. The other, “A Culture of Creativity” was designed by and showcased the artwork of Maya Carbone ’27.

After the concept is established, the Editor-in-Chief begins promoting it, encouraging the community to submit their own works of art and writing using flyers and presenting during community announcements. As submissions are gathered, the Editor-In-Chief begins laying out the introduction page, which Khiêm recently reintroduced to the PawPrint process. It includes the issue’s advisor, editor, and contributor information. All students and faculty members are welcome to enter submissions.

“I always encourage everyone to submit,” says Khiêm, who receives around 50 submissions each issue, which works out well for the 50 pages each edition usually has. “Sometimes I’ll go to teachers in the Arts or English departments to get recommendations of students’ work. I then put the work into Canva, designing, configuring art orientation, page numbers, pagination, etc.”

“What’s funny is that PawPrint used to mainly be a literary magazine,” shares Khiêm. “There wasn't as much artwork involved in the past, but over the years, it has evolved. This has really helped bring the community together. Since not everyone feels as though writing is their strong suit- maybe they can paint, or draw, or take photos. I wanted [PawPrint] to be more inclusive. Starting in the winter, I even began introducing music using QR codes. So we have some musicians who contribute as well.”

For Khiêm, the most rewarding part of PawPrint has been watching it connect the community. Humanities Faculty Mr. Macaluso’s wife, Amy Raab Macaluso, began submitting to PawPrint this past winter, providing Khiêm with collages, paintings, and drawings. While Art Department Chair, Ms. McNealus ’79, had met Ms. Macaluso, she hadn’t known she was an artist. Seeing her work in PawPrint prompted Ms. McNealus to reach out and ask her to join one of VA’s collaging classes, “Drawing with Scissors”, as a guest instructor. 

“It was really cool,” says Khiêm. “PawPrint connected them! When Ms. McNealus told me that, I felt really happy. PawPrint is giving people the opportunity to show their work to their community - because it's a small community - is really nice to see in our welcoming space.”

See all digital editions of PawPrint from this year on this page, and be sure to come back to see the digital Spring edition, “Bloom,” and find out who will spearhead the publication next year.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.