PHS literary magazine is All-Alabama

PHS students (L-R) Emily Sansom, Kelly Haberstroh, Anna Smith, Tracy Kimbrell, Samantha Ellis, Catherine Schmidt, Tait Wayland, Seth Lansdowne and Sarah Banasiewicz celebrate their Literary Magazine awards from Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s state convention at the University of Alabama. (Special/Connie Nolen)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I’m so excited!” “Why don’t they start?” “I can’t take the suspense anymore!”

This was the chatter of the PHS literary magazine staff as excitement hit its peak last Friday evening.  Every year, our magazine staff attends the Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s state convention at the University of Alabama. Friday culminates with the awards ceremony, revealing how well our most recent Pelham High School Literary Magazine scores.

Staff members know what’s on the line. They’ve set goals to improve their publication.  Whether or not these goals are realized comes to light during the awards ceremonies.

During the long day leading to the awards, the Alabama Scholastic Press Association state convention offers training sessions from experts in photography, design and writing. Students learn how to improve their high school publications and how to be involved in college publications and media when they enter college.

Amazing support from Pelham High School and the Pelham community allows our magazine staff to compete and make this trip. Alabama Scholastic Press Association Director Meredith Cummings Bowman makes sure that our publication staff has a place to train and a place to sparkle. Bowman organizes summer opportunities, fall convention and state convention and secures impressive speakers like this year’s keynote, Lars Anderson from Sports Illustrated.

Bowman is the woman who drives ASPA, directs the kids and hugs the advisers. Genuine and warm, Meredith’s attentiveness and helpfulness knows no bounds.

I try to avoid sending her Saturday night e-mails, because even if I apologize and say I don’t expect to hear from her until Monday, Meredith will still respond on Saturday night.

How does ASPA training benefit the kids? Our students are talented; however, as Ben Franklin’s said, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” Due to the training provided by ASPA, my students are able to strap on their miner’s hats, flip on the lights and chisel their talents into print.

So how did last week’s awards’ ceremony pan out? Our PHS Literary Magazine was one of only three high school literary magazines in the state to receive the highest possible distinction of All-Alabama.

Pelham High School students received 19 individual awards, topping their 18 individual awards from last year.

What’s next? The 2011 PHS Literary Magazine is currently under production—and the talent of our artists, photographers, writers and designers rises steadily from the mines.
Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.