Final Days, New Perspectives, Anita and Gold Crowns, Oh MY!

As with much, at the beginning of an adventure, you seemingly have all the time in the world.  By the passing of days that seem like minutes. the end of the week arrives and you wonder. whoa.  I missed much of it and it seemed like seconds!  Such was the feeling on Friday, knowing on Saturday I’d be headed in the late afternoon via Amtrak to Takoma Park, then the next day to Mexico.  No regrets in the least of any of it, just wonderment of how fast all had moved past me and grateful that I was able to receive so much information and meet so many amazing people.  Yet, today would also hold many surprises for me.  Being very excited to see 2013-2014 staffer Nina Sachdev, who had moved to New Jersey and was the only staff member that would be present physically to celebrate the recognition, I was looking forward to this culminating day at Columbia and a bit nervous to say the least.

I spent a portion of the time in the AM fine tuning the details needed for a 9:45 presentation we would give in (guess where?!  – 517 Hamilton Hall! )  It’s funny, almost all the workshops I had given in the last at Columbia involved this room, so I was also grateful to have the same room, as well as the same Columbia student tech representative with me the whole time, it made everything feel perfect.

I arrived at Columbia, sipping my dose of Chair from Oren’s, and lone behold spied Nina and her Dad!  YEAH!  It was so good to act as if we were still at the same school and seeing her was really a great morning.  I didn’t realize until we started looking through the program that I had missed a 8:45 session,thinking all the session actually started at 9:45.  In looking at the offerings, a few stood out to me, “CSPAA : Annual Meeting of members”, “Tips and Tricks in Photoshop and InDesign”, “Get Engaged: Social Media Beyond Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram”, “Just Hashtag It: Social Media and Your Publication”, and “45 Tips in 45 Minutes” – I was like what?  All of these – and I wondered if this allowed people to really come and stay for the last day – yet we did see schools coming for just the last day to accept the awards or to be present.  I was grateful that I had obtained an arsenal of good tips so far from some fairly good workshops up to this point.

We made our way for out last day in Hamilton Hall, room 517, and had roughly 45- 50 attendees come in which from all our workshops, we realized we had a total from four workshops, of about 150 people, maybe a little more but that was GREAT !   For the presentation titled Moving Up, we used the medium of a blog, to show how information could be presented as well as linked.   It also felt right starting with a line that one of our staff sent me, as the whole experience became internalized to her, and I feel that is the purpose of being involved with something where your heart lies.  We also strived to show how Repentino. uses PR and becomes involved in other activities that might not seem related to that of a publication, but actually widens our audience, and in turn widens the roles and the tasks that new staff will be needed for, creating new positions and moving staff up to positions that might not have existed before, and helped promote the magazine from many different skills needed.

This reminded me of the Utube Video, Did you Know?  which does state that students are receiving education and training for jobs that don’t even  exist yet, the same rings true with publications.  The workshop was great, having Nina’s Dad help capture the workshop, as well as seeing along list of emails from attendees wanting to obtain the information, we felt this week, and thanks to Nina’s time and interest – all had been a great representation of being motivated and gong the extra mile to be successful.

In looking at the 10:45 – 11:30 time slot, the workshop Wiser Adviser seemed appealing and it was a GREAT pick!  Speaker John Cutsinger was energetic and presented ideas that at first challenged the way many people always ran publications, but by looking on the flip-side made sense.  One main tenet he pointed out was this – Do not always pick the best photographer/writer/layout person/technical staff to be your editor!  He knew that was what we all did but he said, doesn’t it make sense to keep them in the verity field of expertise they are good at, instead of taking them out and then changing the position titles up to say, first chair, second chair, etc. like an orchestra, so they are doing what they do best?  Although advice like that seems minuscule, it truly changes the dynamics of how successful a team is from year to year.  I walked away with alot of positive and good approaches to staff and procedures, despite thinking I knew much of them and all that I needed!

Looking at the 11:45 time slot, I was intrigued with a workshop titled, “Branding your publication”  I trekked to the Jerome Green law School Building and began to take in this session, presented by Daniel M Haygood from Elon University. I loved the points he made about how others advertise and get us to know the difference between a logo and the quality of an item.  We associate logos but then there is a slight difference between what we associate with the brand.  I liked that.   What I also lied was the part where he provided is a Tokyo snack I have never even seen before let alone heard of named Pocky.   The ideas he had were amazingly cool and it seemed he never quite got us to the point of allowing us to test our publications with how we would brand it the best.  As I think about it now, I wonder, could we have done that in a 45 minute session?  I am thinking not, it is just that I wanted to walk away with SOMETHING, like a an example of something we haven;t tried as far as a logo, or something that solidifies even more who we are as a  magazine – that was frustrating to me, but at the same time, in reflecting on that a week later, the topic he presented is a hard sell to talk to an audience the whole time about, yet it certainly was a starting point to do something with down the road to personalize who publications are and what they strive to be.


Nina, her Dad and I met in Lerner, headed out to lunch immediately, and as we did, wow, SNOW.  Lots of it, BUNCHES of snow was coming down, so much so, you could not see to the other side of campus – wow.  I am not sure I am ready to talk about THAT, so we headed a cross the street and ate at Amir’s.  I know this was the second time, however, that was AOKAY, the sweet potato fries, the schwarma, it all was THAT GOOD.  It also was nice to NOT have to fight for a place to find, in the NOW coming down and accumulating SNOW.  😉

After lunch, we headed back to Columbia, and noticed there was almost everyone that had attended the conference, in the front of the soon-to-be-awards auditorium. I realized, I had never been to the whole awards ceremony – EVER.  I was a little excited because frankly, I did not know what to expect.  AT ALL.  Finally, doors opened and we are lucky enough to get seats close to the doors we came in, no fuss!

As the ceremony started, we began to see every publication that had won awards being called alphabetically. I was nervous, absolutely, positively.  When we finally came to the R’s we were AMAZED as how many R’s there were – mainly because we were waiting but we watched to see how this all went, name announced, award received, picture taken with Mr. Sullivan – got it  !

“Repentino. Magazine from the American School Foundation in Mexico City!” – there we were on the big screen!!  Cover, spreads, wow! We walked up and accepted a large framed award, that was to say the least AWESOME – then we proceeded to get our picture taken (We’re picture  # 46 on the page !)    with Mr. Sullivan,  and we could not stop staring at the award!    This is quite humorous, we noticed it said Silver on it, and we were like, what?  We thought we won the gold?  Now was the weird, I mean, we didn’t want to say anything because it would look like were were not grateful but – then AFTER (of course!) we brought it up to them following the ceremony, we realized, holy cow!  We won a SILVER and a GOLD award, TWO!   One for the critique of our publication and one for Overall all song publications we were like  NO WAY  – funny way to find out and kind of embarrassing, but, we won big !!!!!

In order to avoid the potential blizzard worsening, as fast as it seemed Nina came and we were reunited, they need to head back to New Jersey for obvious reasons.  It was so amazing to see such a talented young lady “back in the fold” so to say, but it seemed like we have never be apart that long, which was kind of great too!

Coming down off of cloud 9, I still have some exciting appointments, one with Erick Gordon who had spoken at our PD Workshop on the Friday I left for the states, and wow, some amazing things to explain and then, something not even Nina knew – and of course Scott Westerfeld and many other authors as well – stay tuned for the next post!

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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