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Outside the chapel -- Alumnus Chester Johnson (right) tells UAM journalism students (from left) Danielle Kloap, Michael Ford and Linna Jones about St. Paul's Chapel. Giving up half of his Saturday to answer questions and show the group around, Johnson also treated the group to lunch followed by a trip to Wall Street and Battery Park. (photo by Sitton)

Outside the chapel — Alumnus Chester Johnson (right) tells UAM journalism students (from left) Danielle Kloap, Michael Ford and Linna Jones about St. Paul’s Chapel. Giving up half of his Saturday to answer questions and show the group around, Johnson also treated the group to lunch followed by a trip to Wall Street and Battery Park. (photo by Sitton)

   Thanks to the generosity of the New York Times’ American Democracy Project and an anonymous donor, five students from The Voice, the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s online news source, visited New York City over Spring Break to attend the College Media Advisers spring conference, preceded by Media Pro Workshops with professionals from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press.

   Michael Ford, a senior journalism major from Crossett; Danielle Kloap, a junior journalism major from Vilonia; Linna Jones, a junior English/journalism double major from Gould; Michael Thomas, a junior minoring in journalism and recently elected as president of the Student Government Association; and Chief Photographer Latoya Shelton of Little Rock accompanied student publications’ adviser Ronald Sitton, assistant professor of journalism, on the trip.

   Of the five students, four had never ventured north of Missouri; one had never flown in an airplane. Yet each was excited about the opportunity to visit a place seen on TV screens and in the movie theaters.

   “I’ve always dreamed of going to New York, and I’m very thankful I finally got my chance,” said Kloap, who will serve as editor-in-chief of both The Voice and the Boll Weevil yearbook next school year.

   A highlight of the trip involved visiting Ground Zero and St. Paul’s Chapel, with a personal tour from UAM alumnus Chester Johnson. The heart-breaking memorials to the heroes of Sept. 11 captivated the group, as well as the story of the chapel that withstood 9-11 without a displaced stone or broken window pane.

   “I thought St. Paul’s Chapel was absolutely beautiful from the inside out and the fact the chapel opened its doors to the firefighters and workers during 9-11 is admirable and awe-inspiring,” Jones said.

   Students also visited Chinatown, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and took in Broadway Shows including “Chicago,” “Mary Poppins” and the all-Black rendition of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” featuring Terrance Howard, James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad. Whether networking, learning more about the journalism craft or just sight-seeing, students agreed visiting The Big Apple provided the opportunity of a lifetime.


This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of the UAM Alumni Magazine.

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