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Journalism students travelled to Seattle for conference

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Every year, the JEA (Journalism Education Association) and its partner NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association) prepare hundreds of practical and professional learning sessions and workshops at a national convention for students interested in journalism. This year, the national conference was held in Seattle where seniors  Gabrielle Abille, Brooke Kerley, Demi Manglona, and sophomore Baylee London were able to attend.

Newspaper adviser  Michelle Harmon, who led  the trip, said “I love this trip because I attend membership and leadership meetings, and also love seeing innovations in journalism.”

Before the trip, the four students knew each other as other members of the newspaper staff, but once at the airport, it was apparent that the adventure to Seattle would bring them closer.

After a long day of cancelled flights, the group finally arrived in Seattle during the evening. The tired students were easily uplifted when Harmon opened the door to a grand suite room. “I wanted to keep it a surprise, because I knew it was really special,” Harmon said.

The group lucked out because the original reservations had only king size beds instead of queen size beds, which would have been a better accommodation for three girls and two boys (one from Coeur d’Alene).  When Harmon called to see if any queen rooms had become available, the hotel offered up a  an upper floor, three-room suite, which was normally $900/night, at the conference rate.  

“That was probably the greatest surprise ever,” London said. “We were very fortunate to be able to stay in such an upscale place.”

The rooftop pool, easy access to Pike’s Place, and endless shopping outlets were all major distractions, but the students were eager to attend the famous workshops in order to improve journalistic skills.

“I attended one photoshop workshop where I learned how to manipulate images more efficiently,” Abille said.

“I really loved visiting UW (University of Washington) and learning about professions I would fit into in the journalism world,” Kerley said.

“I’m so glad I went because it was my last year to be able to go and I wanted to get the experience,” Manglona said. “I have always felt confident in my journalism skills, but this conference made me realize that there is so much to improve on all the time.”

Seattle opened up a lot of doors for the students, including a top 20 ranking  in a national quiz bowl, and a national writing competition. Abille received honorable mention in editorial cartoon, Kerley received an excellent in sports writing, and Manglona received an excellent in review writing.

There were many moments of learning during the trip, but there were also many filled with laughter.

“My favorite part of the trip was when Demi, Gabe, and I stayed up super late watching Jimmy Fallon, and ordered bread sticks. Brooke woke up at 3 and ate the rest of the breadsticks and went to bed. It was pretty funny until we had to wake up early the next day.”

Experiences like these never fail to create new friendships and bring students together. “I will never forget this trip, and I am sure my peers feel the same,” Manglona said.

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The student news site of Borah High School
Journalism students travelled to Seattle for conference