Virtual conference on gender
August 16, 2021
My Caribbean School for Catholic Communications experience
August 16, 2021

Learning to sync or swim

Cross section of participants for CSCC 2021

Youth interns Brianne Gomes and Joshua Britto, both 19, share their experience of the 2021 Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (August 2–7). Following is Britto’s perspective.

I heard about the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (CSCC) when I was 15 and the thought of attending school in August seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. Every year after I heard more snippets about it, my interest grew, eventually leading to my attending this year’s edition, curious but open to anything.

In the first week of August, CSCC hosted their annual school via Zoom.  The theme was Sync or Swim and was presented by university professor Sr Angela Ann Zukowski MHSH.

For the first five days each session was two hours long, but on the final day it was split into two, two-hour sessions, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

On the Monday, the session began with ‘Let it go’ from the movie Frozen, a strange choice but it somehow felt a bit right. Then Sr Angela shared with us one of Pope Francis’ first encyclicals Laudato Si’ before dividing the attendants into five groups.

In the groups, participants were given six objects, told to select one and give it human-like characteristics based on a series of questions. After which, the groups returned to the main session and Sr Angela shared with us an interesting video on dates.

In the video, it was explained that a certain type of date (fruit) was present around Jesus’ time on earth but went extinct because the Hebrews were being pursued by the Romans. So, to avoid capture, they set fire to the field of date palm trees before committing suicide. Then in the 21st century, two doctors acquired them and, after years of hard work, successfully produced a few date trees.

On Tuesday, she showed us another one of the Pope’s encyclical, Fratelli Tutti then put us back into groups from the day before. In the groups, we continued giving our selected object more personality.

After this, CAMSEL’s Editorial team gave a presentation on the do’s and don’ts of a story, types of stories and what makes for effective storytelling. Homework was given to write a story about the object selected for Thursday as no session would take place on Wednesday to facilitate writing the story.

For Thursday’s session, Sr Angela went through another encyclical Christus Vivit with participants. Then a presentation on audio by David Huggins, and Victor Donawa of Audioworks. The presentation consisted of explaining why we need sound, how it enhances a story when used effectively and how music evokes emotion.

Friday, Sr Angela shared yet another of Pope Francis’ letters, Gaudete et exsultate before CAMSEL’s Digital team presented on using social media. They demonstrated how to create an effective post using the Canva and Headliner programmes and explained how using imagery enhances any story.

Finally, on Saturday, in the first session, everyone presented their stories in class and got feedback on how to improve them. The second session capped off the entire week as participants celebrated graduating from this year’s CSCC.

It was an interesting week with each session connecting to form a bigger picture. My takeaway from the entire week was how to write and share a story properly and effectively. I really enjoyed the sessions and will gladly attend next year’s school.