Publications program at high school seeing growth

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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The co-advisers of the Albert Lea High School publications program showcased the success the program has seen in the last year on Monday during the Albert Lea school board meeting.

Angie Zoller Barker and Erin Brackey, who lead the program, said they have seen not only increased participation from students but also success at the state and national levels for the work the students have completed.

The publications program includes the Ahlahasa newspaper, Tiger yearbook, Imag Literary Magazine and Tiger Vision Broadcast News.

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Zoller Barker said at the beginning of April she and Brackey went with 19 students to the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri and spent two days going to breakout sessions absorbing all they could for their publications.

Brackey said one of the best opportunities they had was to sit down with advisers and get on-site critiques about each of their publications about what things are working well and what things they could improve on.

While they were there, they came home with two awards: first place for Magazine Design for the Imag and ninth place in Editorial Leadership for Editor-in-Chief Rosa Corey-Gruenes, who led the Ahlahasa newspaper and the Imag Literary Magazine. Zoller Barker said this was out of all of the publications nationwide.

At the state convention, the print version of the Ahlahasa earned fourth place for Best of Show and the online version placed third for Best of Show.

Brackey said this year they worked hard to unite the four publications under their direction and have seen tremendous growth and increased participation.

They also applied for a grant last year for iPads that are used to create digital art, as well as new cameras and the Adobe Suite with layout and photo editing capabilities. They next hope to get three computers that can run the programs.

Other successes they have had include having the Tiger Yearbook awarded Gold Status by the National Yearbook Program of Excellence.

The women said the success would not have been possible without the support of Albert Lea High School Principal Chris Dibble and Assistant Principal Sean Gaston.

The Ahlahasa and yearbook are elective credits for students.

The women also noted the program’s partnership with the Albert Lea Tribune, in encouragement and helping print the print edition of the Ahlahasa.

Superintendent Ron Wagner thanked the two women for their passion, commitment and collaboration to the students and the program. He said he thinks that is why there has been excitement in the program.