Malcolm Cooke paints the way for creative students

English Teacher, along with team of student editors, producing Word Painter, the art and literary magazine at Watertown High


Raider Times photo / Staff photo

Malcolm Cooke, adviser for the Word Painter art and literary magazine at Watertown High School, poses with some past copies in his office.

What is Word Painter? It is the creative writing club at Watertown High School. But it is much more than that.

Word Painter collects all types of creative work produced by WHS students — including poetry, short stories, comic strips, photos, sketches, drawings, paintings — and publishes them in print and online.

“We all need to let our light shine,” said Malcolm Cooke.

Mr. Cooke, a longtime English teacher at WHS, is the club adviser. He said Word Painter has been around at least since 2003, but probably longer.  Word Painter has been run by other English teachers, such as Ms. Reagan and Ms. Mulhall. The magazine has evolved over the years, changing each time it is published. Mr. Cooke took over as adviser in 2013-14.

The next edition will be published in April, and the submission deadline is March 19.

Traditionally, Word Painter is produced at the end of the school year as a glossy magazine, but last year it partnered with the Raider Times school newspaper and was published in print and online. Last month, Word Painter published its first edition of 2020-21, online at the Raider Times website.

Mr. Cooke works with a team of Watertown High School students to produce Word Painter. This year, Word Painter is being put together by senior Alicia Karunaratne (copy editing chief), senior Dylan Francione (layout chief), and freshman Mairead Connolly (editor).

“The team is small, but full of hard-working students who edit and proofread other students’ work,” said Mr. Cooke.

The club meets each Tuesday after school, on Zoom like most everything else this year. Students are welcome to join at any time to help in the production of the next edition.

Students’ creative work is also accepted at any time. The next edition will be published in April, and the submission deadline is March 19. This year the Word Painter is running a contest for the first time, allowing students to submit their work for the chance to win a $50 gift card.

For more information about Word Painter, including how to submit and how to help with production, contact Mr. Cooke at [email protected].

–Feb. 12, 2021–