Palmetto's journalism students take on Columbia University in NYC

Special to the HeraldApril 8, 2013 

Journalism students at Palmetto High School had an opportunity to experience big city life -- skyscrapers, car horns and crowded sidewalks -- on a recent visit to Columbia University in New York City.

While touring the city was fun, it was the work the students did at Columbia University that left them inspired and ready to put their lessons into action.

Since 1925, Columbia University has been serving student journalists by hosting their Columbia Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention.

The convention wascreated with student journalists and their advisorsin mind. It is designed tohelp develop students' journalism skills and to pre-pare them for a future in journalism -- whether photojournalism, reporting and writing or even yearbook content.

Columbia has one of the top journalism schools in the country. A dozen of Palemtto High's journalism students were selected as delegates

to the university's convention in March.

Nelson Lopez, journalism advisor, made sure that every delegate was prepared.

"I wanted my students to have an experience that they would remember the rest of their lives," Lopez said. "I knew that the knowledge they would attain by going to this conference far surpassed any stress it took to set it up."

A few of the students had never been to New York City, and the experience was unlike any other. The 12 students and their two chaperones, Lopez and English teacher Colleen Maynard, attended five or six seminars and 45-minute teaching sessions each day, but were fortunate enough to be able to fit in a day for sightseeing in the city.

"It was definitely a trip I will never forget because not only did I get closer with our newspaper staff, but I learned a lot on how to talk to people in order to build relationships and how to be a good leader within the staff and within our school," said Hollie Jessup, a junior who attended the convention.

The conference was an eye opener for many of the students. It helped newspaper staff members broaden their perspectives and develop ideas on how a student newspaper can serve its school, as well as the community. The sessions at Columbia University also served to inspire the students and bring out their passion for journalism -- and even awaken a passion in some.

"The biggest payoff from the trip was seeing my students develop a hunger for journalism," Lopez said. "They left every session discussing the topics and wanting to do more than they have ever done when it comes to our student newspaper. I know the staff will become even stronger than they are now due to the opportunities we had at New York."

The journalism students and advisor at PalmettoHigh made the right decision for attending the well-established conference in New York.

It brought back positive results to the student newspaper The Prowl, and the staff members are more than ready to bring the paper to the next level and share the passion for journalism with the rest of the school.

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