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HANDS-ON LEARNING Ryan Chang, a senior at St. John’s School, attended the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Summer Journalism Workshop this summer. (Photo: Eli Maierson)
I toppled out of my bed as the fire alarm screeched to life at 7:15 a.m. Disoriented by the sudden commotion, I heard our RA shout, “Everyone, head down the stairs and wait outside!” I, along with several other pajama-clad teenagers, rushed down the stairs of the John Jay dormitory and stumbled outside into the rain. As we rushed to a neighboring building, someone despondently said, “Maybe this rain will put out the fire?”
Fortunately, there was no fire, and by 9 a.m., I was comfortably seated in my Editorial Leadership class. I was at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Summer Journalism Workshop, and even at the unholy hour of 7 in the morning, there was no shortage of excitement.
On June 24, I travelled to New York with seven other editors from my school’s newspaper, The Review. While staying on Columbia’s campus, we attended two class sessions every day, which covered topics such as reporting, design and editorial leadership. In my Editorial Leadership class, I learned numerous ways to better manage The Review, as well as some of the ethics and responsibilities of high school journalists. Although our teacher did lecture us about these topics in class, the lessons often felt more like conversations. We students exchanged constructive criticism of our publications and offered feedback and potential solutions to one another.
We also had many opportunities to explore New York in our free time. After checking in on our first day, my friends and I travelled to Chelsea Market for lunch and stuck around to watch part of the Pride Parade. On Jun. 26, every student and teacher at the workshop saw the revival of Once on This Island on Broadway. The musical was spectacular, and afterwards, we had the opportunity to interview members of the show’s cast and crew.
Overall, CSPA was an incredible experience. Through classes and group outings, I made new friends and bonded with my fellow editors. Most importantly, I learned many valuable lessons about the role of high school journalists, and how our voices can inform and impact our schools’ communities.
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