Friday, November 20, 2009


Last week I had the opportunity to take 14 high school journalism students to the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association High School Journalism convention in Washington, D.C.

St. Louis had the wettest months on record in October, making all of us think that moving to Seattle or Forks might not be so bad. When we left St. Louis, the weather was the first sunny day most of us had seen in over a month.

We flew right into the remnants of Hurrican Ida as she traveled up the eastern seabord. From the moment we landed at Reagan, the rain started and didn't let up until we boarded the bus to the airport. We flew right back into rain on Sunday's trip home. It's been over a week since I've seen dry ground or the sun.

The first night of our trip, however, after shelling out $36 each for a monument-by-night tour, we all donned the 40 degree weather and the pouring rain to tromp around Washington, D.C. Two of us had umbrellas, although the wind made them useless. We simply got soaked. I was wringing my socks out and stomping my feet to get the feeling back.

Yet, none of that mattered. We were there on Veterans' Day, and as we reached the Korean War Memorial and saw the faces etched into the wall and the life-size statues, it struck all of us that the soldiers had endured so much more. We were climbing on and off a bus, eventually destined for a dry Metro ride back to the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. So we braved on. Up the stairs to see Abe Lincoln. Back down to cry over the Vietnam War wall. We walking down Pennsylvania and waved at the snipers atop the White House.

I realized it was all about perspective last week, especially later when we chose not to go to the award ceremony and went sight seeing instead. Having been entered but never winning, we figured that Murphy's Law said if we skipped, we'd place. We did. The yearbook I advise took 6th in NSPA's national best of show competition. The website my kids do ( took 10th. Eight of the 14 placed in individual writing competitions. Yeah, it sounds like bragging but the truth is my kids are awesome.

Sometimes a change of scenery and a break is necessary for perspective. Sort of like missing the forest because of the trees. DC was a great experience. We were humbled. Reenergized. It was a chance to simply feel the lifeblood of another place (albeit wet). As for me, I had a great trip and are glad to be home--even if the sun still won't come out.



Linda Henderson said...

Congratulations to you and your kids. All the rain must be in Eastern Missouri because in Southwest Missouri it's been okay, just a little rain here and there.

Marin Thomas said...


congratulations to all of your students and to you--their coach!

A Cowboy Christmas (Dec 09)

Gillian Layne said...

That's just wonderful! Good for you. And I'm here to say I LOVE Harlequin authors--each and every one of you--and can't wait for the bruhaha to settle down.

Just wanted y'all to know. :)