Write Night ’18 a success

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“This will be our 14th Write Night. Write Night belongs to the students. I’m just the workhorse,” I wrote in an email. Upon reflection, I amend my previous statement. This PHS Lit Mag Staff is teeming with workhorses.

Write Night is the PHS Literary Magazine fundraiser to generate 100 percent of the magazine’s publication costs. Releasing negative possibilities, I give intangibles over to God, work with staffers to keep track of their duties and manage what is within my control—all of that glorious paperwork, reminders galore, and sharing the Write Night journey via email, website and social media.

Managing Write Night without longtime production partner, previous PHS theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson, was daunting. Deciding that asking a new theatre teacher, inexperienced with this definition-defying event was unfair, the staff and I opted to bring in PHS alum and tech wizard Mitchell Morin who has Write Night history. With key senior staffer Morgan Harries sidelined by illness, and many new procedural requirements, planning was stressful.

Staying after school to prep paper, asking Pelham businesses to assist with gifts and food, along with  practicing handshakes and sharing business letters, this year’s Lit Mag Staff emerged with a record-breaking Write Night.

Madame Farley’s former French students, knowing that she would attend, performed a French poem that she’d taught them, many former Lit Mag staffers and editors attended, and audience participation and surprises characterized the night.

Former PHS assistant principal and current Shelby County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks assisted in presenting PHS Teacher Nelson Gooden with the Still-on-the-Hill Longevity and Lifetime Teaching Award by sharing Cullen’s poem, “Tableau.” Brooks advised students to use the poem as “a guiding principle in all of our relationships as we consider others: to judge not ‘by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’ as Dr. King had hoped we would.”

Surprise guest PHS alum Ryan Weaver closed the show reminding the audience that the acceptance and support defining Write Night are rare qualities.

Write Night reinforces that we are most strong when we are one team.