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Charla Harris: A National Success and a Student Champion

Charla Harris: A National Success and a Student Champion

by Olivia Rochelle

When most students see Mrs. Harris they think of a journalism teacher, but when journalism students think of Mrs. Harris, they think of an “at school mom.” She is someone students can come to for advice; they trust her. Mrs. Charla Harris has been the journalism teacher at Pleasant Grove High School for 33 years. This year, the Journalism Education Association announced that Charla Harris, CJE, is the H.L. Hall National High School Yearbook Adviser of the Year. She was awarded this high national honor at the Pleasant Grove ISD Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, in Texarkana, Texas. 

Charla Harris, CJE, was recently named the H.L. Hall National High School Yearbook Advisor of the Year.

Charla has a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas. She wanted to teach yearbook, newspaper, and broadcast separately. But then, as the main teacher for all of those subjects at PGISD, she had to adapt since all of her classes would be combined. “My classroom is a little like a one-room schoolhouse, with yearbook, newspaper, and broadcast working simultaneously on different projects with different deadlines all day long,” Charla said. 

It’s easy to get caught up in work, work, work, but Charla allows her students to decorate the classroom for all of the holidays and numerous other FUN activities   She also has something called Cake Day, where all journalism students get together at lunch once a month to celebrate the people who have birthdays that month. 

The Hawk yearbook has been nationally-recognized every year for the past 15 years. Charla has received many Pacemaker and Golden Crown awards over the years. But, if you were to ask her what her greatest professional accomplishment has been, she would say it is the difference she has made in so many students’ lives.  She is proud of her current and past students and being able to give them extra encouragement and guidance to succeed in their lives.

If a deadline is coming up, she will stay at school until 7:30 to 8:00 p.m. to help students finish their work. She also gives her time during the summer and on weekends to take students on trips to different conventions to learn more tips and tricks for journalism. 

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Charla Harris always wants to better her students. She prepares them for lives and jobs beyond high school. She gives students advice on how to meet deadlines. “I’ve worked on the yearbook staff with Mrs. Harris for three years,” Cage Watlington said. “I’ve traveled across Texas with Mrs. Harris to learn journalism, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt I would not have known what to do in high school without Mrs. Harris.” 

Never has there been a better journalism adviser more deserving of this prestigious award. Mrs. Harris doesn’t want students to just graduate, she wants them to excel. It is an honor to have her not only as a mentor, but to be a part of her journalism team. 

Olivia Rochelle is a current journalism student in Charla Harris’ class at Pleasant Grove High School.

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