We may be a small school, but we think big, win big and live big. We’re a Little Big,” reads the cover of the Pleasant Grove High School Hawk yearbook.
Little did they know, that theme would have a much bigger meaning later.
On Dec. 11, in a surprise presentation during a typical school board meeting, Hawk adviser Charla Harris, CJE, was honored as JEA’s 2018 H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year.
“It was a little overwhelming,” she said. “That night there were all these messages. The next day, it was more of that, plus visitors and treats. And it’s continued since. I just keep smiling.”
Harris’ impact has created a Texas-sized reputation for the Hawk. The 240-page volume earns state and national nods galore. With 24 straight Star awards from Interscholastic League Press Conference in the Lone Star State, and another 25 CSPA Crown and NSPA Pacemaker awards in the last 13 years, there are few books so honored.
She has made school publications a big deal in her 33 years in Texarkana. Each year, more than 10 percent of the 670 students have been involved.
Her room’s always abuzz with people working on the newspaper, its online edition, broadcast and the yearbook — simultaneously.
More than anything, Harris says she likes working with high schoolers.
“I love helping them take on this huge project and seeing how they grow and change while they put it all together.”
Looking back, “We’re a Little Big” fit the year better than the editors could have hoped.
As Harris’ award was announced, past and present editors were elated. Phone calls and celebrations with Harris ensued.
“Audrey Murphy and I worked so hard as editors. We wanted to make Mrs. Harris proud,” 2018 co-editor Brynn Blain said. “We hoped we could help continue the streak, and we wanted the book to really represent PG.”
Volume 41 closing copy sums it up, “We grew up here together and we’ll always be drawn back, supporting the next group of Hawks and their big ideas, big wins and big moments.”