Giving truth to Memphis youth
By London Montaque, Madison Brown & Hadiyah Weaver (Overton High School, White Station High School & Cordova High School)
The Teen Appeal, a city-wide high school newspaper, held its 18th annual summer camp at the University of Memphis. The week-long festivities began August 3 and were filled with various lectures and activities for the students. Representatives from organizations such as Crosstown Arts and The Boys & Girls Club visited the camp, giving students chances to learn about more programs in Memphis, while also learning how to take notes on speakers.
Students got the chance to speak with prominent people in the Memphis journalism community such as
Otis Sanford, Dr. David Arant and Dr. Joe Hayden, who are all professors at the University of Memphis.
They also met a few founders of programs located in Memphis such as Petya Grady of CODECREW and
Danielle Inez of Ding! Marketing.
Within the first couple of days of the camp, students were taught to interview and to develop a story.
They also worked with Dr. Hayden from the University of Memphis on “Writing with Style.” He focused on teaching what good writing is and how to improve writing style.
Students such as Genesis Douglass, sophomore at Central High School, were fully engaged in the lecture and found it helpful.
“The main thing he talked about is being interesting and I have a problem with keeping the reader’s attention, but now I feel like I’ll do a better job at it,” she said.
Brittney Bullock stopped by Monday morning and told us about Memphis’ new contemporary arts organization, Crosstown Arts, dedicated into expanding creativity in the community. There are five locations where Memphians can showcase their talents and become locally known.
Campers spoke with Crystal Caulfield, career prep director at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis, who also came on Monday. She came and talked with students about the Technical Training Center, a program that trains students ages 16-21 in areas such as culinary, logistics, and automotive care. The training teaches young adults the basic requirements to get their first job.
“Two reasons people can’t get a job, they don’t have transportation or can’t pass a drug test,” Caulfield said.For the past three years, she said the program has placed 100 percent of their graduates in colleges and/or jobs.
Petya Grady, cofounder of CODECREW, came on Wednesday. CODECREW is a local nonprofit organization that teaches underprivileged kids to code. They are supported by the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation.
They recently held their pilot program which consisted of an “Exposure Workshop,” a six-week-long summer camp and ended with a “Hackathon.”
The students also received some inspirational speaking from speakers ranging from young college sophomores to owners of non-profit organizations.
Keturah Harris, along with other Teen Appeal alumni, spoke with us about their college lives and internships. Harris is currently a University of Tennessee sophomore and is majoring in public relations.
She told campers her main advice for going into college, which was to branch out, use resources, and get help if needed. Because of her busy schedule, her biggest challenge in school is time management.
Along with the rest of the alumni each told campers their stories and advice on staying strong minded and confident in school. “Your goals are too big for people’s ears,” she said. They just can’t handle it.”
Derrick Powers, FedEx engineer, along with Danielle Inez, founder of ding! Marketing, each told students that they are in charge of their future, and are the ones that will change the world. Powers told students that they are the ones to protect their dreams. They are the best money-making tools they have. In order to get what they want in life they have to work hard, and not let anyone take that dream from them.
“I am responsible for myself and no one else; I am responsible for where I get and no one else,” Rivers old the students.
Danielle Inez owns a public relations office firm in Memphis. She did an activity with the campers and had them explain what they see in Memphis, either positive or negative. She told the students that they are the ones to change the world and the media’s perspective on Memphis teens.
The camp ended with a bang on Friday with the awards ceremony. Autumn Darling, freshman at White Station High School, and Trinity Walker, sophomore at Overton High School, were both excited for the year.
Darling said, “I am incredibly eager to be a part of Teen Appeal, and ready to see what challenges and fun I will face this year.”
“I feel like I’m in a super exclusive club. I really like it because I got to meet new people, Walker said. I really like the experience because we get to find out if journalism is for us and even if it’s not, we get to find out more about the journalism industry,” said Walker.
The campers did not only learn valuable lessons from the presenters, they got to make bonds with students from other high schools across the city. On the last day, the heads of the camps chose the: Best News Story, Best News Lead, Best Feature Story, Best Feature Lead, Best Camp Story, Best Camp Lead, Best Returning staff Story, Best Story Ideas, Best Camp Photo and Best Editorial Cartoon and those chosen are included in this issue of Teen Appeal.