Literary staffers’ summer workout

Published 4:02 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

Every team has a summer workout, and Pelham High School’s Literary Magazine Staff is no exception.

While the group is not enduring two-a-day practices in the heat, a couple of staff leaders did brave intense humidity as they studied their campus maps to locate their classes, their dorm and their meals last weekend when they attended the Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s The Long Weekend for Creating Media Champions held at The University of Alabama.

Participating independently in the camp, students were able to work together and spend time on preliminary planning for next year.

PHS Literary Magazine Staffers Senior Anna Smith and Junior Catherine Schmidt attended these summer intensive classes.

Both young women were able to stay in one of the University’s newest apartment-style dorms.

And while they didn’t run a single lap, they did improve their skills.

I was anxious to see what my students were up to at the University and I was delighted to find that these design-obsessed magazine aficionados were attending not only design classes, but also writing, photography and even gaming classes.

Irene Latham led many of the writing sessions. Latham is a Birmingham-area writer who serves as poetry editor of The Birmingham Arts Journal and program coordinator for the Alabama Writers Conclave.

Latham has recently released her intriguing first novel titled “Leaving Gees Bend”.

One of her sessions was on overcoming writers’ block.

“The key to overcoming writers’ block is going out and living a life worth writing about,” Latham says. “One of the ways I live a life worth writing about is by sharing time with curious, imaginative, inspiring teens.  I think I have learned more about the craft of writing by teaching than any other way.  The kids bring a freshness and originality to the table that helps open my mind. I always come away from the experience energized and ready to pound away at the computer.”

Design, photography and staff organizational sessions also helped PHS Literary Magazine Staffers prepare for the coming school year.

Meredith Cummings, Director of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association said, “The goal of ASPA and the Long Weekend is to prepare students. The students who attended from around the country—and even from other countries—not only achieved that goal, but had fun while doing it. We are glad that Pelham High School could be a part of this experience.”

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at