Searching for secret tunnels

Anna Smith, Senator Slade Blackwell and Maggie Smith at the Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards in Montgomery. (Contributed)

Anna Smith, Senator Slade Blackwell and Maggie Smith at the Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards in Montgomery. (Contributed)

 

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

For Pelham High School students traveling to Montgomery to attend the Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards, notification that their photo session with legislators was moved to the Statehouse Tunnel created intrigue.

Meeting students and parents at PHS, I was equipped with directions and instructions for all; however, I remained unclear about the Tunnel.

“I will speak with my son,” I told one parent. “He’s a student at Montgomery’s Huntingdon College and he works as a runner for a law firm,” I explained.

“There is no secret tunnel,” my son reported moments later. “I have never heard of a tunnel.”

“I’ll find it,” I said. “I have directions.”

Familiar parking put us on the right street as my students followed along. We entered the legislative chamber entrance. The security guard said this was not the tunnel entrance.

“Go down the street,” she said. “It’s on the right.”

On the right was a parking lot. Alabama Author Marlin Barton waved from the lot.

“Hello Bart, do you know where the tunnel is?”

“I’m here to show you the entrance,” he said. “Keep going down and you’ll find it.”

“Only because I know you,” I said.

“I had no idea where this tunnel was until today,” Barton confided.

After many stairs, we arrived in the Statehouse Tunnel, where we were soon greeted by legislators. Later, writers followed one another to our Awards Ceremony auditorium nearby.

PHS Junior Anna Smith won a poetry award and Senior Literary Magazine Editor Maggie Smith accepted the Literary Magazine award for Outstanding Graphic Design and Layout.

“We’re going to make our newest Lit Mag even better—like we do every year,” Maggie Smith said.

After much compromise and brainstorming, this magical Lit Mag Dream Team has a plan.

Riding along as students’ creativity and hard work brings dreams to fruition, listening and promoting compromise as the talented come to recognize talent in others and join forces to collaboratively render their best work brings this teacher peace.

My students have learned the most valuable lesson of all—working together is worth the effort.