USF PRSSA’s First High School Outreach Experience

By Erica Everett {@EricaEverettPR}
I walked into a classroom that I was all too familiar with. In hindsight, it’s ultimately where my entire career began and I didn’t even know it. As president of USF Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I returned to my alma mater Steinbrenner High School as an alumna of its student-run newspaper, The Oracle.

I put together a presentation explaining public relations as a part of the high school outreach program incorporated in the Star Chapter requirements of National PRSSA. I could not be more thrilled to stand up in front of a group of students who already demonstrate an interest in the world of mass communications during their high school years.

I started the presentation with a challenge. The students were encouraged to use the hashtag #OracleMeetsPR to tweet about key take-aways and facts that they learned during the presentation.

“My key take-away was learning what PR actually is and how broad it is,” said News Editor Joselle Schaffer. “I learned that it can ultimately make or break a brand or company.”

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It also came in handy when I gave them an activity to demonstrate the implications of PR. They were tasked to act as representatives of Sea World and generate PR ideas of how to help the organization’s reputation. I found it to be a timely subject since Sea World has undergone major criticism in recent years and changed the direction of its brand because of it. Also, it gave the students a better insight to crisis communications, one of the many facets of public relations.

I was so excited to see their enthusiasm as they brainstormed in small groups for solutions. I could tell that the assignment really brought to life what exactly PR is and why it’s so important for a brand and its reputation.

I never knew what public relations was in high school. Even when I switched my major after joining USF PRSSA in college, I didn’t fully understand what it meant. But to be able to give these students the opportunity to explore a possible career path that they can develop early on is extremely rewarding. I hope that I can be not only a resource to these students, but also a mentor about all things college and PRSSA. It’s the least I can do for the high school newspaper that did more for me personally and professionally than I ever realized at the time.

Below are some of my favorite tweets from the students, whether be it quirky or insightful about either the Sea World assignment or the presentation in general. Thanks again to The Oracle at Steinbrenner High School for your utmost enthusiasm and interest during the presentation!

 

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