Sora Journal

Meet Ava, Sora Class of '22

By Ava Tyszkowski

My first day of Sora was its first day too, in September of 2019. Since then, I have had the privilege of watching the school expand from that first class of seven students (including myself!) to the hundreds of students it has today. During that time, I've also been able to see the programming expand with it, growing bigger and better each year.

Since graduating in 2022, I've been able to share my unique Sora experience and programming insights as a Student Life Specialist on the Student and Family Experience Team at Sora. Through this role, I am also entering my second year as Editor-In-Chief of The Inkwell, Sora’s high school literary and art magazine. 

The Inkwell is near and dear to my heart, because I was there for every step of its development. I was one of two students in Sora’s first year who were interested in writing, and at first we just met with each other, talking out our ideas and reading each other’s drafts. That was amazing for developing a friendship (that fellow writer is still one of my best friends to this day!), but we wanted to expand our group. 

From the beginning, Sora students have been allowed (and encouraged!) to start their own clubs based around any topic they like! We’ve had some constant throughlines of clubs you might expect - Art Club, Gaming Club - in addition to some truly unique ones (Chronos has an Herbalism Club running this semester that I would have absolutely loved as a student!). I was the president of the first-ever Creative Writing Club, a version of which still exists to this day. It was the first organized group of writers, where we could host writing challenges, share prompts, and react to each other’s work. 

The club was an amazing community, but after a couple cycles, we wanted to go even further. Many of us had done independent studies on our writing projects, producing comics, short stories, and even full-length novels, and we wanted a way to share them with the wider Sora community that lent them more weight than just popping a link in the casual chat channel. We asked our experts for suggestions, and brought the idea up in our House meetings and Roadmap Club countless times - I’m pretty sure we got a reputation for being those annoying people who always had to talk about writing! But this is what Sora had taught us to do - explore and ask questions and figure out a way forward. We continued to persist in the face of setbacks. 

Finally, with the help of one of Sora’s incredible curriculum designers, Briney Burley, we formed The Inkwell. We were so excited to have an official writing platform that we churned out the first issue over the span of a single cycle. 

Today The Inkwell is an incredible group of authors, poets, and artists from both of Sora’s high school campuses, Athena and Chronos. The magazine is published seasonally, three times a year, with help from its student committee, a dedicated group of students who work on everything from choosing each issue’s theme, to promoting the open submission period to the wider student body, to helping with the online platform’s web design. The Inkwell is currently well underway for the fall publication cycle - keep an eye out for our next issue, themed around Celestial Bodies!

I love editing The Inkwell - every issue, and truly, every author and artist, brings something new and exciting to the table. Ultimately, though, it has the same feeling as that first tiny group of writers in my first few years at Sora: a community of like-minded creatives, collaborating and inspiring each other to create works of art.