One For the Books!


Isabella Athanasiou, Managing Editor

Genre Con’s genre was one of a kind! Opening a new chapter for Farmingdale High School was the school’s first ever Genre Con event on March 5th, 2022. Following the utmost success of Genre Con’s advent at Howitt Middle School, the library staff believed it was about time to bring the invigorating success and celebration to the attention of older readers. The Genre Con was a diverse scene, an environment filled with varying genres and formats. But what exactly is Genre Con?

Genre Con is an event that celebrates and spreads the diversity of literature, art, and accompanying pop culture. The function promotes reading as well as creativity to attendees, with the ultimate goal of sparking new interests, as well as uniting people with common interests. The function is similar to the well-known Comic Con, a comic book convention with a predominant focus on comic book culture. Experts, creators, and fans gather in this atmosphere to share their love of the art, comparable to our very own Genre Con. Rather than making comic book culture the main focus, Genre Con ups the ante with a focus on all genres, regardless the size of the audience.

Howitt Middle School’s success with their Genre Con events has upheld the reputation of the function, with them bringing back the tradition for their fourth year. It has been rising in popularity, with students entering the high school requesting its presence here at FHS. Attendees within the Farmingdale community experience special guest appearances from both authors and illustrators, enjoy the luxury of dressing up as their favorite characters, and participating in an abundance of activities that have made the event so beloved. In the past, appearances have been made at the middle school from a range of successful authors and illustrators, with  author and illustrator Chris Soentpiet sharing his award-winning artwork with the middle school attendees in 2020. Also in 2020, there were the numerous activities shared with Genre Con participants, including the teaching of light and shading methods to produce peculiar and distinctive art. These key attributes of the function have brought people back to the middle school to participate annually, and this past endorsement would set the stage for Farmingdale High School’s show of engagement and celebration of art.

Farmingdale High School’s first ever Genre Con was one for the books. The day was filled with a variety of activities, ranging from scavenger hunts, to raffles, to guest appearances, to costume contests and everything in between. Regarding guests, the appearance of former Farmingdale Schools student Trevor Firetog was a huge hit with attendees, and Firetog inspired listeners when talking about his writing journey, as well as his place in the dark fantasy/horror genre. 

With that there was also an appearance from Backroom Comics, a group of talented writers and artists who also happen to be Farmingdale High School alumni. They hosted a workshop for attendees where they explained how to develop a character, helping students create a character with a corresponding illustration from the talented Noah Kramer. Brian Benavides spoke on behalf of the group, stating, “I think it is very cool that we are here not as students, but as people who have created something, people who are back to show how we have grown from Farmingdale High School. This is where we started and now we are back and it shows where we progressed and how we progressed.” Appearances from professional costume experts also occurred, and with a blue screen available for all to take pictures, photo ops took place with Darth Vader, Tusken Raiders, and Troopers from the 501st Legion. Accompanying these Star Wars characters were others characters deriving from different pop culture scenes. Attendees arrived in costumes ranging from characters from Kim Possible to Naruto, creating eclectic environment. 

Farmingdale High School clubs also had booths to promote reading, with the R.E.A.L. Harmony club showcasing books with great diverse representation, and the Paper Lion staff hosting a scavenger hunt to get participants to explore the selection of books presented at other tables. These tables held great significance to the raffles to come, and an attendee was to visit all of them and complete activities to acquire stickers for the raffle. Once a participant’s sticker sheet was completed, their sheet would be turned in for a chance to win awesome prizes. As the event was nearing its completion, a raffle was held with the stickers given by each table, a raffle which had a large number of attendees winning anything from tote bags to Funko Pop figures. 

With Farmingdale High School’s first ever Genre Con in the books, the yearn and excitement for a future Genre Con function is clear. The library staff did an excellent job in organizing the event that was widely enjoyed across the wide range of attendees, and in the words of Farmingdale High School librarian Jennifer Bleicher (on, “Genre Con 2022 at the high school was a tremendous success…Genre Con provided a great opportunity for students to socialize and have fun. Our special guests inspired our aspiring student authors and artists. The support from SEPTA and the Farmingdale community was wonderful. I feel blessed to work in such a great town!” That being said, we can only imagine how amazing the sequel to Genre Con will be next year.