Hawthorne’s speech inspires jCamp students

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 12.47.22 AMWhat impressed us most about Bobby Hawthorne last night:


Erin Senters, Courtland High School: I loved Bobby Hawthorne’s ability to tell the story and draw the reader into the experience he wanted to share. From memories of dominating the air hockey table at Chuck E Cheese to the heart breaking letter of the loss of a dear friend, the reader could feel his passion for journalism not only in his presentation, but through his Texan twang that soars off the page.


Grace Murray, McLean High School: Bobby Hawthorne has a fantastic ability to catch a reader’s attention in his lede, whether it is with descriptions of ordinary objects, such as Chuck E Cheese, or brief anecdotes that still aid the reader without taking away from the core of the story. His lede was incredibly captivating; I wanted to read the rest of the story immediately. He had an obvious talent for public speaking; he kept eye contact and supplied levity throughout the seminar. Hawthorne teared up while reading a piece on the funeral of his close friend Mickey, and  it was at that point that I realised just how powerful words can be. It sent shivers up my spine, and quite a few tears appeared in my eyes. It is my dream and I believe the dreams of most student journalists to be able to touch a crowd, or reader, emotionally in the way that he did.


Bridget Stadelmyer, Stafford High School: Bobby Hawthorne is an amazing story teller. I love the way he writes about the moment rather than the facts (not that there weren’t any facts, just less of statistics and more of description). His methods went against a lot of what I had been taught: short ledes, lots of facts, little use of adjectives. His writing is the type of journalism I’d like to read, because the voice that his words give the piece a warmer, more story-like feel rather than making it sound more like a report full of cold, hard facts. I’ve never seen a man, or anyone for that matter, cry about something he read. I can see why he would emotional because it was about the loss of his dear friend, but he was so full of passion because he cared so much. That struck with me: he cared about what he wrote. How many of us can say that? I get assigned a sports story and just think, “oh great” because most of my school’s sports teams just don’t make for interesting stories. They make for lousy statistics that just depress everybody because we aren’t the greatest athletes except in field hockey and cheer. He made a great point when he said that we need to care about our work or no one else would care. Why would they? It seems so obvious but it never really occured to me. It should have, but it didn’t. Hawthorne is a man with great insight, amazing and very obvious passion, and creativity that shoots through the roof. Most people would see a long story in a newspaper and just cringe away from it, trying to get all the information they could just from the headline and the picture. If people started writing like he does, though, then maybe I would actually read the full article.


Elizabeth Rickert, Sycamore High School: Bobby Hawthorne has an amazing presence that keeps all of his readers and listeners fully engaged. He taught every person in the session how to report not write which I had never thought of as a distinction. This became most clear to me when he told the story of Jesus, a boy confined to a wheelchair after a car accident. Jesus became one of the best percussionists in the state of Texas as only an eighth grader because it helped him lose where he was, a wheelchair. Bobby was able to tell the story of Jesus in the most heartfelt way that left the reader wanting to know more and encourage the young boy through his life.


Lauryn Hardy, Freedom High School: “I was very impressed with the way that Bobby Hawthorne writes and goes about researching his pieces. His use of descriptive adjectives, whether they be one word or five, enables the reader to get a sense of who the person  that is being covered is.  Many of his methods are contrary to what iI have been taught in my own journalism classes, such as his the fact that he focuses more on the experience of people rather than the face-value facts about them. The lede to his story about his daughter Sarah, her friend Rachel, and Rachel’s mother, encompassed all of these qualities about him. I was able to feel as though I was in the germ-filled Chuck E Cheese with him, watching his slightly  “loopy” self outplay a few “thug” ten-year-old boys in air hockey, simply through his extensive use of adjectives and description.”


Hannah Menchel, McLean High School: What impressed me most about Bobby Hawthorne was his storytelling abilities, and how when he told his stories, he really pulled the reader in, making the listener feel like they were right there by his side when he was telling the story about his worst day as a teacher of scholastic media. He kept kept the teenagers engaged, as evidenced by their laughs at his jokes, and their attentive faces as they listened to him speak. The story that really impressed me was his story about Chuck E Cheese’s, as he was able to make a perfectly ordinary story, one that could have been somewhat boring, fascinating to read. It was obvious to everyone in the room how much he cared about the people that he wrote about. You could see this when he teared up during the story he wrote for his friend, and when he talked about how much he liked the girl he wrote about who struggled with her weight.


Camila Bailey, Rockbridge County High School: “Bobby Hawthorne’s captivating Texas accent, booming voice, and somewhat sexist comments kept every student on the edge of their seat; their attention levels at an all time high. His most memorable story had to be the one about his post-divorce encounters with his daughter’s friend, Rachel’s mother at the local Chuck E. Cheese. The way Hawthorne told his story was so enthralling and unafraid. Unlike many adults he did not apologize for his drunken behaviour nor his flirtation with his young daughter’s friend’s mother. He wrote the story as if it were for his future, possibly Alzheimer-diagnosed self. No detail was left out and I could almost smell the cheap beer, grease, and awkward courtship in the air.”

Elizabeth Slattery, Courtland High School: “I was impressed by Bobby Hawthorne’s ability to speak to large crowds as if he is having a conversation with just one person that he has known for years. If you don’t agree with him, you still find yourself captivated by his storytelling. The one thing that immediately resonated in my mind was the story about the young man in a wheelchair. Even though it took him a long time to get the boy to talk, when he finally got his story, it was a remarkable one. It took me awhile to remember where I had heard his voice, where I had before experienced a lecture by Bobby Hawthorne, his personality is unforgettable.

Mike Sander, Westfield High School: “Bobby Hawthorne is able to easily connect with the listener or reader by using a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor to add to his stories. Making fun of the ten-year-old boys he beat in air hockey at his local Chuck E. Cheese helped paint a picture of the scene for the reader. Even when discussing the death of a close friend, he was able to use humor to enhance his story and establish a strong voice in his writing that captivates the audience.”


Hunter Heflin, The Potomac School: “Hawthorne has clearly mastered the art of storytelling–his unflinching portrayal of life experiences and ability to recount an event from an unexpected perspective was refreshing, and he kept students engaged with his captivating ledes. His anecdote about a young boy crippled in a car accident brought tears to the eyes of his audience, and Hawthorne’s description of the incident made me feel as though I was reliving the moment.


What sticks in our mind most about day one of jCamp:


Erin Senters, Courtland High School: On day one of jCamp the one aspect that sticks out the most to me is the shock of actually having homework and staying up past my normal bedtime to get the assignment done. I flashed back 8 years ago to college and the late nights of procrastinating, surrounded by snacks while looking for any distraction to keep from doing the actual task at hand (Although this time instead of being distracted by noisy sweet-mates and instant messenger, the sleep that weighed down my eyes was my biggest detraction).


Bridget Stadelmyer, Stafford High School: The first night I realized how much had gone into making this camp what it is and how much it was going to provide us. I really came into it thinking this was just going to be like journalism all over again, learning how to write well and motivate staff. I was shocked to hear that we actually had an assignment the first night that I would end up starting immediately after I was settled in. I just thought, “holy crap, this stuff is serious.” They have given us opportunities for ice breaker games and movie nights, but I could see that this was business. Some girls even left the games early to work on their assignments. Not to say business is bad, because my friends and I have been having some fun, but the people here are a lot more passionate and serious about this field than I expected.


Hannah Menchel, McLean High School: What sticks out most in my mind about the first day of jCamp was the realization of how much we were going to be doing over these five days. The schedule is jam-packed with things to do, and it seems like we have every second of our day planned out. Having homework the very first night, and staying up late to get it finished proved to me that this will be a busy week.


Camila Bailey, Rockbridge County High School: As someone who lives here and has been on the Washington and Lee campus at least once a day since the summer has started, I expected this camp to be much like my everyday life, but with more work, more strangers, and hopefully less boredom. I could not be more wrong. While in a familiar place, jCamp has succeeded in throwing me far beyond anything I have experienced before. Even the classes are completely different from my usual journalism class which contains much more procrastination, talking, and flying objects. However, while different, jCamp has reminded me of why I love journalism, and has assured me that I am spending the next week in the right place.


Elizabeth Rickert, Sycamore High School: I definitely was surprised by the fact that everything was so busy and the fact that there was so much work to be done. I think what I’ll remember most about day one though is both Bobby Hawthorne’s and Kelly Furnas’ sessions with us. They had such great things to say that I can bring back to my school such as Furnas’ reflection on the change in print newspapers as well as Hawthorne’s opinion on how scholastic journalism should be written.


Hunter Heflin, The Potomac School: While I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in to jCamp, after day one I have a better appreciation for reporting in American society. Bobby Hawthorne’s advice to ‘wake up’ coupled with Kelly Furnas’s emphasis on the importance of staying informed prompted me to become more actively engaged in my journalism as opposed to just writing from behind a screen.


Mike Sander, Westfield High School: “I realized that journalism throughout the nation is in a better state than it is commonly believed, but the industry itself might need to change in order to maximize the potential and profitability of the publications at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels.”


Elizabeth Slattery, Courtland High School: “The first day of jCamp showed me exactly what I could work on not only as a writer but a leader, and showed me how much journalism really means to the world, even if it feels as if it isn’t respected enough. The difference between the people here in this camp, and the people at my school in relation to journalism is outstanding. Seeing so many people put enthusiasm and energy into this is wonderful, just wonderful.


Lauryn Hardy, Freedom High School: “First stepping onto Washington and Lee’s campus I was awestruck with its historian, almost Jeffersonian , landscape.  While checking in   I had the pleasure to be greeted by Bradley Wilson, whose sarcastic humor made me feel right at home.  Having just came from another program at Longwood University i   was releaved to to see that W&L’s dorms, campus, and staff (those with JCamp that is) were all friendly and have an even greater appreciation and passion for newspaper than I do. Getting to hear Bobby Hawthorne and learn of his experience and his passion for journalism convinced me with that this camp was going to be worth the additional five days from home.”


Grace Murray, McLean High School: Having never experienced an academically-centered camp before, I was incredibly unsure of what JCamp would be like. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. The part which I have enjoyed the most thus far has been the mock press conference we had with JEA executive director Kelly Furnas. His story was amazing, and it was certainly interesting to work with other student journalists during the conference. No where else have I gotten the chance to interact and explore new theories and methods to reporting; I will treasure the new people and ideas that I have come into contact with for the rest of my writing career.



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