by Julie Dodd
Attending a professional conference can take a lot of effort.
Whether a teacher is taking a group of students to a conference, a student is attending a conference, or a JEA mentor is attending a conference, planning, logistics and funding are involved.
But the benefits of attending a professional conference, like a JEA/NSPA convention, make all the effort worthwhile.
One of the benefits of attending a conference is the motivation that is generated.
One motivating activity at the JEA/NSPA convention is the National Journalism Quiz Bowl. To qualify for the buzzer rounds, student teams had to take a test of their knowledge of current events, journalism, civics and pop culture. Students studied before the convention, took the test at the convention, and then, based on their scores, advance to the buzzer rounds.
The team from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky, won. The duPont Manual teams had placed second in the previous two JEA/NSPA national conventions. So talk about motivation.
Another benefit of attending a conference for students and their advisers is team building. Often a staff has to spend several months not only planning for the convention but holding fund-raising activities to make the trip possible. Being immersed in student media for the convention is a great way for the staff and adviser to build relationships and brainstorm ideas for the publication.
Attending the JEA/NSPA convention provides opportunities for leadership. That’s true for the advisers, students and mentors who present sessions or help with the many student competitions.
Mentors who worked with Quiz Bowl were: Marilyn Chapman (South Carolina), who moderated the competition (South Carolina); Martha Rothwell (North Carolina) and Kay Windsor (North Carolina), who were judges; and Babs Erickson (Illinois), who was a proctor.
For students, attending a conference while they are high school students can help them build their confidence for attending conferences when they are college students.
Start planning now to attend the JEA/NSPA convention next fall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6-9.