PHS students win awards at ASPA convention

PHS Lit Mag, yearbook and broadcast students join forces for a group photo at Alabama Scholastic Press Association's state convention. (Contributed)

PHS Lit Mag, yearbook and broadcast students join forces for a group photo at Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s state convention. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

The excitement of Write Night followed by late-night cleanup duty quickly gave way to an early morning bus ride the following day for Pelham High School Literary Magazine staffers.

Journeying to the Alabama Scholastic Press Association State Convention at the University of Alabama is an annual trip for the Lit Mag staff.

The exhaustion of Write Night was quickly replaced by the adrenaline of this annual pilgrimage as we arrived in Tuscaloosa and made our way into ASPA’s general session.

Soon, the Lit Mag staff looked just as alert as the PHS broadcast and yearbook staffers joining us this year.

Treated to a presentation by Sarah Patterson, legendary University of Alabama Gymnastics coach, who revealed the significance of media to the rise of the popularity of the University’s Gymnastics program, students representing the best of Alabama’s scholastic press set off with renewed purpose to build their skills in several sessions during Friday’s festivities.

Students attended sessions expanding their knowledge and creativity in all aspects of communications including photography, design, social media, writing, broadcast, leadership and staff organization and motivation.

Advisers for statewide scholastic media also met, networked and planned for the coming year.

PHS’s newest media adviser, Deidra Crain, who replaces Brian Rockett in broadcast, attended this year’s convention as her first ASPA event.

A veteran English teacher venturing into the field of school broadcast for the first time, Crain was excited to connect with other broadcast teachers.

“Lesley Bruinton’s session for broadcast offered relevant advice for school broadcast groups looking to improve visibility and increase student body engagement through social media,” said Crain. “I enjoyed spending time with my students and seeing their enthusiasm as they learned new skills.”

The long day of sessions closed with statewide awards.

PHS student photographers, designers, artists and writers won over 20 individual awards.

“Our magazine won a Superior rating, which is incredibly gratifying as editor-in-chief,” said PHS senior Sarah Sansom.

With final awards given for 2014, the PHS Lit Mag staff turns their full attention to the creation of the 2015 magazine—and the journey continues.