Fallin Center places 1st for children’s book

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Fallin Career and Technology Center Technology Student Association has placed first in the state for the second year in a row for its children’s storybook.

After not placing as high as they would have liked in the regionals, the five-member student team went back to the drawing board. They completely rewrote the story to include more STEM aspects, focusing on technology. With the new story came new illustrations, as well.

“It was stressful — we only had a week or two,” said Jonesha Heller, 18. “We put in a lot of late nights, but I was ecstatic when we placed first.

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“It showed us that all our hard work had paid off.”

Heller, who was one of the writers, said the story, “Discovering My Talent,” is about a young girl named Sarah who is teased by her classmates because she can’t sing or dance like the other students. After going to the teacher, Sarah decided to create a website to show off the talent of the rest of the class.

“All of the students see it and say they are sorry for teasing her,” Heller said. “She finds out who she is — a website developer.”

The sponsors of the two-year-old program are Laveria Green and Richard Bellar.

“I think the students are awesome,” Green said. “We are in a huge district, and there are a lot of talented teams out there on the state level. And when we go to internationals (in Nashville), we are competing against every state and seven countries.”

“The students here are extremely talented and highly motivated,” Bellar said.

Heller, a senior who will be attending Delta State University in the fall, said she has appreciated this program and being a part of Fallin’s digital media technology class. The experience has taught her she wants to be a graphic designer.

“I like it because you can be your own critic,” she said. “You get to make all these things and be the judge of what looks right.”

She plans to pair that degree with digital video production.

“I want to make my own label, start my own company,” she said.

Junior Donisha Edwards, 16, said she’s been drawing since she was a little girl and thought it’d be fun to try the program.

“My role as an illustrator was to create a picture that matched the story,” she said. “If the picture didn’t match the words, it’d be really confusing.”

Edwards, who wants to study art at the University of Southern Mississippi, said the story came first, then the illustrations. She said she was excited about getting to travel to Nashville for the international competition.

“It is going to be a new experience. I’m not really a traveling type person,” she said. “It’s going to be great. We are going to win first, then I’m going to come back next year and win first again.”

Green said this summer’s conference is going to be bittersweet because so many of the students in her program are graduating. The other seniors are Taja Sanders, Cedrelle Spencer and Somer Champlin.

“I feel like I am losing my dream team,” she said. “All except for one of them are graduating. These students have truly been my dream team. We have placed both years we have had this program.”