Students explore facets of making media at workshop

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Every September, Pelham High School students taking classes in our Communication and Media Arts Academy have the opportunity to journey to the University of Alabama for the Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s Fall Regional Workshop.

While students in specialty classes, such as literary magazine, broadcast or yearbook will certainly attend sessions most pertinent to those specialties while they’re in Tuscaloosa, we also take students taking intro classes on the trip—including creative writing and beginning journalism.

We encourage entry-level students to take the classes that intrigue them. With so many stories to tell at PHS, we need storytellers with expertise in all facets of making media.

The sessions are fascinating to the students—and their writing about those sessions upon their return echoes with the excitement of having had the privilege of attending Dr. Dianne Bragg’s descriptive writing class, Cindy Todd’s design class or Drew Taylor’s community journalism class. Those intrigued by photography deeply appreciate Amy Sullivan’s insight on the Rule of Thirds and the many methods of framing.

“I have always been involved in Broadcast, Nic Taylor says, “And I want to learn more about it. Every sport under the sun was a great session to consider unique sports stories.”

Taylor’s session leader, Emmalee Molay, told me that she’d shared a package she created on scholastic rodeo that aired on the day of our conference.

“The University of West Alabama is the only Alabama school with a competitive rodeo team,” said Molay.

“Christopher Edmunds’ class, ‘Less is More: Lit Mag Lay-out and Design,’ gave us great tips,” said PHS Junior Lit Mag Staffer Louie Smith. “He showed us examples of high school lit mags and he had some of our magazines. Edmunds continued saying that Pelham’s magazine was what you strive to be in the Lit Mag world. Basically, we struggled to leave after the session because our heads were too big to get out the door.”

Senior Kat Owens shared Smith’s pride.

Helping students find their voice in every class—from AP Language to Creative Writing to Competitive Writing to Lit Mag—this is my passion.