Chatham Students Meet a Local Inspiration

Chatham High journalism students had breakfast with internationally acclaimed author, Henry Hurt, at a local restaurant recently.

The students and Mrs. Janet Bishop, teacher, enjoyed meeting and talking to Mr. Hurt at Kim’s Kitchen. “Mr. Hurt had a very contagious smile and was a joy to talk to. He kept us on our toes, and he kept us laughing,” said senior, Lizzy Shumate.

Morgan Gay, sophomore,  said, “Mr. Hurt is a very lively person.  Having him there was just like talking to one of us but with a lot more wisdom.”

They learned a lot about writing and how to become successful.

Senior, Jalaysia Winslow says, “I learned a lot, but the most important thing I learned is that you use quotes to drive a story.”

When writing articles, Hurt stressed the importance of accuracy and research, using the best quotes as “drivers” of the story, and to explore different perspectives (angles) to develop intriguing stories.

Henry Hurt highlighted his travels around our country and the world, detailing how he pursued stories that delighted Reader’s Digest readers for decades. Hurt and his wife Margaret also started a successful weekly newspaper in New York City.

Mr. Hurt talked with the students about some of his stories: “Little Boy Blue of Chester, Nebraska”; “A Boy, A Snake, And an Angel”; and “From the Jaws of Death.” He told them where his inspiration for the stories came from, the process he used in writing them. “He was rightfully proud of his stories,” said Sade Morrison.

Mr. Hurt was a huge inspiration for the journalism class. One of the things he said that everyone there agreed was a huge impact on their lives, was that Mr. Hurt graduated from George Washington High School with the lowest grade point average ever at that time. “You don’t have to be the best of the best to be successful; I mean look at me, I was the worst of the worst,” said Hurt. This encouraged the class and showed them that they can be successful even without perfect grades.

Hurt is the grandfather of CHS graduate Charles Hurt, 2016; and current CHS students: Clement, Henry, and John.

“The food was so good at Kim’s Kitchen, but it was even better with Mr. Hurt,” said Lizzy Shumate.