I feel great this morning. I have my Starbucks in hand and am watching the FA Cup Final between Everton (and the US National Team Keeper, Tim Howard) and Chelsea. I am also watching my wife power wash the back patio in preparation for family coming in next weekend for my #1 son's high school graduation. Better her than me. I have mulching duty later on.
Not going to blog about soccer this morning. Instead I want to say "Bravo!" to Mr. Hume, an inspirational teacher of Journalism, English and most importantly, the advisor for the Lakota East Spark News Magazine. (Lakota East High School, West Chester/Liberty Township, Ohio)
Last night was the end of the school year banquet for the Spark student staff. Over 200 people attended this celebration. Mr. Hume has been the advisor for this news magazine for 15+ years, but make no mistake, this news magazine is student run. He encourages these young people to challenge convention, themselves and each other. And the result is a "not your typical" high school newspaper. These students have produced a product worthy of sitting on any newsstand! They have addressed issues of sexuality, drugs and school labor negotiations.
The Spark is a celebration of our 1st amendment rights, at a public high school smack dab in the middle of the conservative Midwest. Would any of your school's administrators allow a one of their school's publications to publish an op-ed on the legalization of marijuana? Just one of the hard-hitting and controversial topics that are addressed in The Spark.
So what are the results? Best of show 5 of the last 9 years at the JEA/NSPA (Journalism Educational Association) Annual Fall convention. 4 gold medal JEA write-off winners. Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown and Highest Issue Critique award. And Finally a 15 time winner of the All-Ohio award given by the Ohio Scholastic Media Association.
The graduating staffers who are choosing to continue their studies in Journalism are going to some of the best J-schools in the country. Ohio University, Northwestern etc.
What made last night's banquet so special was Mr. Hume's personal and inspirational speech about each and every one of the Spark's student staff. He took the time to say something impactful about every single staff member (over 100 by the way). The parents were able to hear how Mr. Hume felt about their children, their skills and capabilities. His comments were inspirational, emotional and heartwarming!
My son had the opportunity to make the closing remarks on the evening. I think that he put it best when he said of Mr. Hume that his Journalism class and the Spark were the reasons he went to school. I couldn't have put it any better.
Bravo! Mr. Hume.