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Journalism and Yearbook students take on Seattle

On their annual trip, this year Mrs. Pendergrass took her students across the country to sharpen their skills.

Lauren Paquet, Editor

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Journalism and Yearbook students traveled to the Emerald City all the way across the country for a conference put on by the Journalism Publication Association on April fifth through the ninth.

Journalism and yearbook teacher Dawn Pendergrass takes students on a trip every year to learn more about media publications, and this year the conference took place in Seattle, Washington. Junior Ellie Gagnon became interested in going because of her friends who have enjoyed these trips in past years.

“Michael [Tenney] and Lauren [McCallum] told me how fun it was last year, so I really wanted to go,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon enjoyed seeing how different schools were from her own, and the difference in numbers amazed her.

“When we went to the classes, it was cool to see people from other schools and see what they do,” said Gagnon. “There were about thirty-five hundred people there. Some schools have like two hundred kids in yearbook and journalism.”

When we went to the classes, it was cool to see people from other schools and see what they do,” said Gagnon. “There were about thirty-five hundred people there. Some schools have like two hundred kids in yearbook and journalism.”

— Ellie Gagnon

Junior Asha Thompkins’ favorite class taught her how to re-vamp her “Humans of BHS” stories.

“I took one that was about how to interview people on the street, and it was basically teaching you how to do Humans of New York,” said Thompkins. “But it was telling you it from the eyes of the people who are being interviewed, so they acted out how you should approach people.”

Pendergrass chose Seattle because she wanted her students to experience a different culture and scenery.

“While the landscape [of Seattle] is very similar [to ours], the culture and the vibe is different from anything else they’ve experienced,” said Pendergrass. “It’s very green [eco-friendly], so I guess that’s why they call it The Emerald City.”

Pendergrass thinks it’s important for her students to experience different cultures in their own country as well outside of it.

“Part of what I want kids to experience on these trips is the culture of a different city in our country,” said Pendergrass. “You always think about the different cultures when you go overseas and you go to a different country, but there’s so much within the United States that kids may not experience unless they have these opportunities.”

It wasn’t all about learning, though. Gagnon said that her group of four classmates enjoyed doing tourist things as well.

“We went to the [Space] Needle, the aquarium, the science center, and on a harbor cruise,” said Gagnon. “There was so much seafood [at the Public Market]. There were so many people there.”

Senior Michael Tenney also attended the trip this year, and made many fun memories as well.

“My favorite memory was probably when I scared Asha,” said Tenney. “I went behind the island in the kitchen and I’m like crawling, and Lauren [McCallum] says, ‘Michael, what are you doing?’ and I was like I have to scare her before Lauren calls me out. I started making noises and she turns around and looks at me for a split second, and then she just gets so terrified, falls on the floor, and is screaming.”

Gagnon and her group made plenty of friends on the trip, and even became friendly with the Monorail driver.

“We went on the Monorail and talked to the driver, and his name was Dallas,” said Gagnon. “The monorail went by our hotel, so we put a ‘Hi Dallas’ sign on our window. Every time he went by he would toot the horn.”

Many may know Seattle as the founding city of Starbucks, but sadly the long line prevented them from going in.

“They told us that there were one hundred and fifty Starbucks in a two-mile radius,” said Gagnon. “We saw the original one [Starbucks], but there was such a long line that we couldn’t go in.”

Although they had lots of fun, the group also learned a lot. Pendergrass said that they attended about four or five classes a day.

“We took classes, and kids could pick from over three hundred different sessions of classes in photography, writing, graphic design, and all kinds of different things that have to do with media publications,” Pendergrass said.

For Gagnon, this experience is one of two she will be attending, as she plans to go on the Journalism/Yearbook trip next year, as well.
“I plan on going to the trip to Dallas next year,” said Gagnon. “I want to do something with photography in the future.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
Journalism and Yearbook students take on Seattle