By Leslie Dennis, Director of Scholastic Media
Posted November 12, 2018
(Above, Principal Chris Ferguson presents Amanda Foster with the Bruce E. Konkle Rising Star Award during her creative writing class.)
SCSPA honored outstanding students, programs and an adviser of scholastic journalism at its fall conference Thursday, October 18 at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.
Before acknowledging magazine and yearbook journalists with individual and program awards, SCSPA recognized one adviser who earned the organization’s award acknowledging the achievements of advisers with five years of experience or fewer.
Amanda Foster, The Ville literary magazine adviser at Powdersville HS, was awarded Bruce E. Konkle Rising Star Award for making a difference in the lives of her media students by modeling what it’s like to be excited about learning, encouraging professionalism in media production and creating excitement in her classroom for the love of written, verbal and visual communications.
Principal Chris Ferguson described Foster as the “cornerstone of an outstanding English department.”
As a former professional journalist, Foster “developed her passion for writing into a career,” but “decided that she would like to develop those same skills and passion for writing in others by becoming a teacher,” according to Ferguson.
Three years ago, she created the creative writing program at Powdersville, a dream of hers. Students bare their feelings to classmates in the “sharing chair” at the front of the room during the class, read at an annual end-of-the-year banquet for parents and teachers, and learn to respect and encourage each other’s creativity on a daily basis.
Colleague Jamie Chamberlain said, “I have personally recommended students to her class who were struggling to find their place. It was in her class they blossomed. Her class is truly a home for students who didn’t fit in anywhere else. This is truly how she makes the biggest difference in the lives of her students.”
Principal Ferguson describes Foster’s passion for creative writing and journalism as infectious.
“Her students quickly inherit her enthusiasm and dig into their work to create new
and exciting poetry and prose,” he said.
But her influence goes beyond the classroom and writing skills.
“If she only taught her students to write creatively, she would be a tremendous success; however, that is far from what she does. Some students find a voice that they have searched for all of their lives and they develop abilities that they never knew they possessed. In short, her Creative Writing class often changes lives. What more can you ask from a teacher?” Ferguson asked.
The full fall awards list is posted on the scholastic press website.