PHS Fall Regional Workshop attendance breaks record

Pelham High School students were representing a strong Communication Academy during Fall Regional Workshops. (Contributed)

Pelham High School students were representing a strong Communication Academy during Fall Regional Workshops. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“You just surpassed Sparkman for the most kids attending Fall Regional Workshops,” said Alabama Scholastic Press Association Executive Director Meredith Cummings. “No one has ever beaten them!”

Cummings’ announcement about the grand total of 61 Pelham High School students headed to the University of Alabama for Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s fall workshops was stunning.

Considering that Sparkman High School near Huntsville is a major 7A powerhouse with almost 1,800 students, breaking any record of theirs is impressive.

Knowing that their Mass Media Academy is legendary, their teachers are seasoned professionals and their media is award-winning makes breaking their attendance record a promise for the Pelham High School Communication Academy’s future.

The PHS Fall Regional Workshop trip to the University of Alabama has been popular for years. We’ve nearly filled a bus.

What’s different about this year? We really filled a bus!

Having a Communication Academy sparks interest in media careers.

We plan to have students disseminating information to our school community over creative formats including social media, websites and an online newspaper in addition to using our current literary magazine and yearbook.

Students may take Communication Academy classes even if they are enrolled in another academy because successful endeavors require effective communication.

The first lesson of the PHS Communication Academy is that true professionals must seek the training they need to stay competitive.

At the Fall Regional Workshops, students were able to choose three sessions based on their interests.

Many toured the newsroom located inside the stadium.

“We were able to do our own news report—as if we were on TV. That was fun,” said Semiiyah Cowan.

Some students found new interests.

“The sports writing session was the best,” said Madison Averhart. “Our teacher explained we must refrain from putting everything in the first paragraph so our readers must follow the story.”

Other student favorites included “Live Tweeting,” “Show Stopper Photographs” and a class that allowed students to study the “Black Warrior Review”—A UA literary magazine produced by students.

Having our first official Communication Academy field trip break records reveals the incredible promise of these students.