Photo by Zoe Peterson and Emma Ramsey.
By DELIA ADAMSON – Print News Editor
Staff of the ODYSSEY Media Group and iliad Literary Arts Magazine gathered at the Athens Cotton Press-The Trade Room for the 2016-17 banquet.
Members of the ODYSSEY Media Group (OMG) came together on April 29 for the program’s end-of-year banquet to celebrate the work and growth of the media group publications this school year.
The evening began with a photo slideshow compiled by Senior Visuals Coordinator Julie Alpaugh and was followed by welcomes from 2017-18 iliad Editor-in-Chief Violet Merritt and 2017-18 ODYSSEY Media Group Co-Editors-in-Chief Lucia Bermudez and Aneesa Conine-Nakano. Introductions were followed by an eight-minute documentary produced by broadcast staffer Kiki Griffin was then showed to the audience. The video included testimonies from OMG students, entertaining video from the staff and footage from conferences such as the Georgia Scholastic Press Association, the Southern Interscholastic Press Association (SIPA) and the National Scholastic Press Association.
“The greatest part about making the video was being able to look back at those memories and those times like SIPA and fun classroom experiences because I got to see how happy everyone was and I wanted to really display that in the video I was making,” Griffin said.
Staff members in attendance then went around the room and introduced themselves and the current position they hold on staff. The banquet emcees then recognized special guests, which included juniors Daniel Palomino and Kri Hair, as well as Clarke Central High School principal Marie Yuran, Piedmont College’s Joe Dennis, distinguished alumni Lorien Campbell, class of 2006, and Tiernan O’Neill, class of 2016, Dr. David Welch Suggs, Jr. of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Claire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.
After dinner, Grady’s Suggs was introduced as the evening’s keynote speaker. He spoke on the importance of risk-taking in the storytelling process.
“I thought Welch Suggs offered a beautiful level of commentary on the state of current journalism,” OMG advisor David Ragsdale said. “I think he gave ideal advice to (teenagers), such that they should totally immerse themselves in the opportunities around them, whether that be fun, consumption of news, creation of news, or storytelling. I thought his speech was spot on.”
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of the iliad Sara Goodie and Elizabeth Jurado presented awards from the iliad, including the Lorien Awards.
Lorien awards are given to students who won the top poetry, prose, art and photography in the iliad magazine. Best prose was awarded to junior Luis Garcia for “Slim Chances”, best poem was awarded to ODYSSEY Newsmagazine News Editor Delia Adamson for “Absence”, best photo was awarded to ODYSSEY Newsmagazine Broadcast Editor Karla Dougan for “Inhale” and best artwork was awarded to junior Kri Hair for “Burning Forest”.
“I think the Lorien Awards are an ideal way for us to recognize the creative endeavors in the (CCHS) building and I am so grateful that (Lorien Campbell) and her family are still willing to contribute to the high school that (Lorien) spent her formative years in and allowed her to become a creative artist,” Ragsdale said.
Bermudez and Conine-Nakano recognized the media group’s awards as a whole by listing awards won from GSPA, SIPA, NSPA and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Special Recognition awards were presented by Ragsdale.
After awards, the nine OMG graduating seniors were recognized and those in attendance took the stage to talk about their experience in the program. The seniors included Senior Visuals Coordinator Alpaugh, Print Managing Editor Sophie Fernandes, Goodie, ODYSSEY Online Variety Editor Maddie-Rose Hall, ODYSSEY Newsmagazine Variety staff writer Kennae Hunter, Jurado, ODYSSEY Online Broadcast staffer Lorena Limongi, OMG Public Relations/Business Manager Adrienne Lumpkin and iliad Literary Arts Magazine staffer Joseph Mullen.
“ODYSSEY has made me the person I am today because if it wasn’t for ODYSSEY I wouldn’t be as diverse as I am. ODYSSEY helped to make me comfortable to speak to all different types of people and learn things about other cultures,” Hunter said.
According to Jurado, being a part of the media group has been a learning experience that has helped her with many things in her life.
“I’ve had to learn to be comfortable speaking up, how to manage other people, how to deal with the failures of other people I’ve worked with, and have seen effects of my work when it’s at its best and its worst,” Jurado said.
Despite her success in the program for three years, Hunter feels regret looking back on her performance.
“I regret not taking advantage of all my opportunities. In this program you’re given the opportunity to do so much and I didn’t realize how much I could’ve done until now,” Hunter said.
Freshman sports staff writer Maddie Ingle believes that those who continue to stay on the OMG staff have some big shoes to fill.
“With so many talented seniors leaving, I believe those of us who remain on staff must make a greater effort to not only dedicate more of our time to the program, but to make that time worthwhile by focusing on completing quality work on time,” Ingle said.