Letter from the Editors

Delta Winds cover 2017Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


Letter from the Editors

In the fall of 1991, the first volume of Delta Winds appeared for sale for $2.00 in the bookstore of San Joaquin Delta College. Newly-hired English faculty member Jane Dominik created the magazine with the intent of publishing student essays that "merit a wider reading audience." Five years later, while standing in line for the commencement ceremonies, she asked us to take over the reins of her project, which by then had become well-received in the English Department. We agreed under the condition that her biannual publication become an annual publication. We knew we could never keep up with Jane's pace, but we figured that two of us could do half the work that she did. And even so, it would be a challenge.

Since that time, as co-editors, we have continued to identify student essays deserving of a wider reading audience. Thanks to a sabbatical leave in 2000, we were able to create an online version of Delta Winds to complement the print version. In doing so, we expanded the audience from those obtaining the locally distributed 800 print copies to an unlimited number of readers on the Internet. With that came easier distribution, and in time publishing houses were regularly knocking on our door, requesting to reprint Delta Winds essays in their textbooks. This fall, one of the publishers will print 75,000 copies of a textbook containing a Delta Winds essay. And that will mark the thirteenth republication of a Delta Winds essay by a nation-wide publisher.

Perhaps our most important contribution, though, is as stewards of the written words of these Delta College students. For it is the words that hold significance and have remained permanent. It is the words that have moved the readers to tears, to outbursts, to moments of recognition of self. In our classrooms, our students find Delta Winds essays written years earlier that reveal something of themselves in the present-essays that reveal enough for the readers to gain the strength to share their own opinions, personal experiences, fears, and doubts with their classmates and instructors. Through this process, we have connected with our student authors in ways that we had never anticipated when we took on the responsibility of the magazine.

In some instances, their printed words have outlived the authors. Sadly, over the years, we have learned of a number of student authors who have passed away due to illness or accident. But by continuing to read their essays, we hope to pay tribute to what they shared one day in an assignment for an English class.

Other student authors have become professionals in a range of fields. From the list of student authors, we know of lawyers, software engineers, entrepreneurs, web designers, police officers, nurses, and English teachers. Some of the student authors have even become our colleagues here at Delta College.

Each volume of the magazine would never have been published without the help of personnel in the print shop, the backing from the administration, the cooperation from the staff and faculty in the English Department, and, of course, the courage of the numerous students who cautiously submitted their personal creations. We have too many names to thank for their participation in this project.

As in 1991, we still produce 800 print copies and sell the magazine for $2.00 in the bookstore. But, now, twenty-one years after we agreed to Jane Dominik's request, we sign off with this last volume under our editorship, fully confident that the magazine is in good hands. Now, it is our turn to pass the reins to the capable hands of two recently-hired full-time colleagues in the English Department-Kathleen McKilligan and Eric MacDonald. We wish them well in their tenure as editors of the magazine.

What we mistook for a departmental responsibility when we started as co-editors of the magazine became for us a labor of love. And like all loving relationships, the magazine nurtured and sustained us as we believe and hope that we have done in return.