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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Garden State Scholastic Press Association’s annual fall press day was a lackluster conference

Photo Credit: Aurora Mena
Jada Powell and Joey Torres speaking to one of the speakers

On October 30, schools all across New Jersey attended the Garden State Scholastic Press Association (GSSPA). The conference, held at Rutgers´ Bush campus in Piscataway, occurred for journalism students to improve their reporting skills.

The cost in order to attend:

Per Adviser: $50

Per Student: $20

Membership for advisers per year: $30

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What is GSSPA?

The Garden State Scholastic Press Association, promotes scholastic journalism in the state of New Jersey and provides resources and support for young journalists and advisers. The organization was an integral part in sourcing the New Jersey New Voices Legislation.

The Student Chapter is a group run by high school journalists in N.J. The group’s purpose is to create a network for student journalists and support their rights.


From 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., students had 42 workshop opportunities to choose from. Topics varying from: social media, Investigative Journalism, Relationships and Sexual Health, Politics and Media Literacy, piqued the interest for many young journalists.

A few of the shops left students feeling uncertain about what they just experienced. Most thought the workshop on Relationships and Sexual Health could be improved.

Why journalists should attend:

Danielle Allen, the journalism teacher at Colonia High School, explained why it is important for one to attend a conference like GSSPA, ¨Sometimes, there are things that teachers don’t go into details about that might be interesting for students. ¨

Jada Powell, a Senior at Colonia High School, elaborated, ¨I think it’s important because you get to see the different parts of journalism and see the different routes, we can take for it and got firsthand advice from people in the field. ¨ This was Powell´s first time attending the GSSPA.

Students’ opinions:

Multiple students from Colonia High school attended the Rutgers´ journalist event. When asked which conference was the best out of the ones that were available, students were eager to respond.  Sofia Sokolow, a Junior and a journalist for three years, said, ¨My least favorite was the teens writing about sex, relationships and sexual health section because I didn´t think it was very informative on how to write about sex. Instead, it was learning about sex. ¨

Daniella Albuquerque, a Junior at CHS, who attended last year commented, ¨Personally, I had mixed feelings. The topics that were discussed seemed intriguing, but the way some professors talked about it, made it seem otherwise. They did not have a lot of enthusiasm which made the audience not want to engage. The one event that differ from the rest, was the writing for sex. The professor had talked in a way that made you want to listen, and most of her questions were targeted for her audience. With so, many teens engaged by sharing their experiences and what they hope to happen in the future.  I hope next year it is like this one event, rather than the rest. ¨

Sheza Shah, a Freshman at CHS, said, “My favorite section was Inventive journalism because it covered a lot of topics and was very interesting. ¨

Returning for upcoming events:

All of the students who are a part of CHS´ Journalism class, greatly appreciated this trip. Each and every one of them, cannot wait to return next year to learn more.





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About the Contributor
Aurora Mena Barrios
Aurora Mena Barrios is a 17-year-old junior at Colonia High School. Mena is taking Mrs. Allen's journalism class to write about fashion while improving her writing skills.  She enjoys modeling and talking about fashion. She took a year-long course at a modeling academy which helped her with her fashion knowledge. Mena spends her free time watching "Riverdale" and "Young Sheldon." In the future, she plans on being a labor and delivery nurse because she has always had a passion for the medical field.  Mena loves listening to Rod Waves and went to his concert in November. She hopes to share her life experience and advice with her readers. Mena is a very straightforward person but loves giving others advice. She just hopes people can handle her honesty.

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