Chipola prof and students recognized for English journal

Pictured from left, are: Allison Brown of Grand Ridge, Mary Johnson of Marianna, Active Editor Amie Neel Myers and Melody Holt of Altha. Not pictured is featured artist Maddie Craven, who created a series of 10 fashion croquis-style renderings of famous male protagonists as female, which appear in the journal.

MARIANNA—Chipola College English Instructor Amie Myers and three Chipola students have been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for their work on the Florida English Journal. The Florida English Journal is the official journal of the Florida Council of Teachers of English (FCTE), housed at Chipola College. The publication is one of eight outstanding affiliate journals selected for the 2018 NCTE Affiliate Journal Award. The awards committee indicated that, among these eight journals, they were most impressed with the quality of the Florida English Journal.

Myers is the Active Editor of the journal, which she produced with Chipola English Education students Allison Brown, Melody Holt, and Mary Johnson, who served as student editors. NCTE judges found the Spring 2018 issue to have a “powerful ‘cold opening’” with the inclusion of five poems from student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. One judge stated, “The poems themselves were moving, without being strident. The rest of the journal followed with remarks from editors and staffers about the tragedy.”

Myers said, “We took a risk by putting these poems in a folio before the table of contents, with no context, but we wanted the journal to interrupt our readers’ expectations of how a journal should be structured, just as the students at MSD challenged our understanding of what happens in the aftermath of a school shooting. It worked; the opening of the journal is powerful, haunting, and meaningful. We are especially proud of this editing choice. It is also important to point out that this journal is unique because it was edited by students; journals of this kind are often edited by teams of PhDs, seasoned teachers, and published writers. I am so impressed with the work my students did, and we are thrilled to have received this national recognition.”

Also recognized by the judges were the “stunning art and graphics,” with “the same style woven throughout the edition.” Featured artist Maddie Craven, a graduate of Chipola and the University of Florida, created the series of 10 fashion croquis-style renderings of famous male protagonists as female. Ms. Craven created this series in an Advanced Placement Art class under Dr. Jerri Benton at Marianna High School. Craven says, “By visualizing these strong males as equally strong females, I think we can come to shift our perspective on gender. We can come to see people as complex souls existing inside, outside, and in spite of the gender binary. We can come to see that, if these stories were written with female protagonists instead of males, they probably wouldn’t be so different.”

Another judge stated, “The terrific variety of content and subject matter made it difficult to single out superior articles; those on vocabulary and death in the classroom were cited as especially noteworthy.” Myers explains, “We wanted to make as much room as possible for as many strong voices as we could find. The journal includes educational research, an interview with founder Charles Best, lesson plans, scripts, poems, short stories and more. We thought it was especially important to include student voices in this edition, so there is an entire section of student work from our district and around the state. Several Chipola students also submitted their work, and some of them were published too. We think the journal is interesting, informative, and entertaining, and that’s what we were going for.”

Dr. Pam Rentz, Chipola Vice President of Instruction, said, “We are so proud of Ms. Myers, the English Education students Allison Brown, Melody Holt, and Mary Johnson, featured artist and Chipola alumna Maddie Craven, and Chipola students Kathrine Alderman, Hayden Church, and Morgan Johnson who also had their work published in this journal. The vision of Ms. Myers and her students, along with their editorial decisions, has resulted in a powerful, informative publication for English teachers across Florida and the nation.” The Chipola group will attend the NCTE national convention in November to accept the award for the publication.

Dr. Pam Rentz is an FCTE board member. Carrie Dunkle Perry, a native of Marianna and English teacher at Prew Academy in Sarasota, is President of the FCTE.

The Florida Council of Teachers of English (FCTE) is a nonprofit organization for English Language Arts teachers in the sunshine state. FCTE is an affiliate of the NCTE. The NCTE is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.
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