Students attends workshop at Alabama

By Connie Nolen / Community columnist

“We’ve got a two-bus trip,” I said to my fellow Pelham High School media advisers. “Including the three of us, we’ll have 70 attending Fall Regionals.”

Every year, PHS Communication and Media Arts Academy students and advisers journey twice to Alabama Scholastic Press Association Events held at the University of Alabama. September’s event offers training, inspiration and motivation. With new broadcast, yearbook, and literary magazine staffs, along with new writers trying to discover where their creative passions may lead, the Fall Regional training allows students to see where their high school training can take them in the future. 

Hearing from students about their sessions provides insight into the experience. Second year creative writer Amya Peterson had a moving experience in “Making a difference,” led by Chelsea Barton. Mentioning Barton’s “magnetic personality,” Peterson reported that she learned “to report on stories I’d want to hear about.”

PHS Seniors Tamia Nelson and Holly Helms both chose Mike Royer’s “On Air Presentation” session as their favorite session. A forty-year television news veteran, Royer shared valuable interviewing information. 

“Although my planned career is as an attorney instead of a broadcaster, interviewing is definitely part of being an attorney,” said Helms. “You have to interview your client and the witnesses. Following Mike Royer’s advice will help me interview well as an attorney.”

Recently, I ran into 2011 PHS grad Rachel Abel who is working in the Birmingham area. With a degree in international business, Abel really enjoys her work. 

“I’m designing with InDesign as part of my job now,” Abel said. “I didn’t study design in college. I’ve drawn on my foundation from Lit Mag all those years ago and I’m really enjoying the creative side of my work.” 

Noticing the multi-tonal blues of Abel’s outfit, I remember her skill as a designer and her natural proclivity for creating appealing color palettes.

Exposing students to skills and opportunities that expand their skillset and their vision of their future selves is the goal of field trips. Returning with ASPA field trip inspiration, PHS Communication and Media Arts students are ready to create.