My busy day began with the startling sound of Lindsey announcing, “we have to leave in twenty minutes!” We all jumped up and readied ourselves for the second day in New York City, carefully packing our cameras, spirals, cell phones, and our money in our front pockets. After a quick check-in with Mrs. Lewis, we headed off to Andy’s Deli for some heavenly bagels and some small talk with the friendly cashier. The whole group boarded the subway together and we ventured off to Columbia University for our last day of classes.
My first class was called “Imagine, Your Lead Sucks,” and its main point was to help us hook readers and create unique leads that reel you into the story. The instructor was a charismatic man who, through humor, cynicism and all seriousness, gave us great ideas and examples of how to improve the beginning of our stories.
The second class was titled “Survival Tools as That Deadline Approaches.” Our teacher was an older and very monotone man, so it was a challenge to pay attention and understand what he was saying. He pointed out several critical things to remember when it is crunch time and your story is due in a few mere hours.
My next class was “The Amazing Magic of Eyes.” This class was listed for photography, newspaper, yearbook, broadcast, artists and journalists, so I figured it would be a great class to take. The instructor was a witty, short man who walked all around the room, varying his volume level with some frequency. He informed us of how what you see can make the difference in telling the story. His tips on what to focus on really opened my eyes to where I should be standing, which side of my face I should be exposing, and how I should be holding the audience’s attention.
Last, but definitely not least, was “Journalism in the 21st Century.” I was so anxious for this class because I am looking for a career in journalism in this century! Not only did the class teach me about that, it was basically an explanation of the world of newspaper reporting, my preferred career choice. We learned from the instructor’s mistakes and regrets. He gave us a handout called “10 Things I Wish I Knew In High School,” which covered all the topics he wished he had learned about high school journalism.
All in all, it was a great day full of learning, friends, fun, and my favorite passion, journalism. We are all going to miss Columbia University, this conference, and New York City so much. Through this great experience I have improved my writing immensely, and I hope it will benefit Hillcrest as much as I feel it has benefitted me.

Freshman Valirie Morgan
Staff Writer
Hillcrest Hurricane

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