Journalism students learn new skills, bond at conference

Hannah Anglin, Editor in chief

Four journalism students traveled to the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s spring convention in Columbia, SC, the first weekend in March. The students attended the convention with neighboring high school, First Flight.

“Besides being educational, the trip was very culturally enriching. We experienced the tastes, sounds, and sights of Columbia!” freshman Watson Harvey said.  “Personally, I bonded with my peers and instructors in a way I never thought I would. The experience was one I’ll never forget, and I plan to go next year!”

This marked the first time a group of students from here attended the convention.

“Mr. [Steve] Hanf, the advisor at FFHS, approached me about taking a group of students,” journalism teacher Sarah Pritchard said. “He had attended the convention in the past with students from his old school and he had great things to say about it.”

The convention began on Friday, March 4 with pre-convention workshops. These workshops were held on the University of South Carolina campus at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and focused on the subjects of photography, editorial leadership, broadcasting, and design.  The convention’s opening ceremonies and first session followed this.

Saturday’s schedule included five sessions and a keynote speech from local WACH 57 reporter Destiny Chance. These sessions provided students with an opportunity to network with other student journalists and learn new tips and tricks for photography, design, writing and much more.

“The classes were very entertaining. The instructors made sure that their class sessions were very interactive and they full of energy,” junior Cole Basnight said.  “They wanted to help us, as students, to become better journalists. The thing I liked most about the classes was the comfortableness of it all. I didn’t feel wrong for asking a question about something, I felt like it would help me and be beneficial to my needs.”

Before heading home on Sunday, students attended one more session.

Along with attending classes, the students were also able to explore the city of Columbia. Additionally, the convention student officers and staff planned many fun social activities for the student journalists including an ice cream party and rave.

“Exploring the city of Columbia was just magnificent.  It was super fun to learn new things that will help me in my journalism class and to eat at restaurants that we don’t have here,” junior Katie Gruninger said.

The students gained new ideas and information that they hope to bring back to their journalism class and implement into future publications.