By Brandon Ortega
Benjamin N. Cardozo High School
Many have multiple passions in life, but Grace Anne McKenna is focused on journalism.
“As a journalist, you are not just focusing on one area or topic,” said Grace, a 16-year-old rising junior at Wantagh High School. “You are speaking about what is happening now in the moment, how it relates to the past and how it will affect the future.”
As an aspiring journalist growing up on Long Island, one of her favorite past times was to catch up with current events on News 12, the local cable news channel. Erin Colton was one of the anchormen that she saw on the news station almost every day. Colton was also recognized by Grace as one of Wantagh High School’s alumni.
“It’s awesome that I’ve looked up to someone who not only provides me with daily news, but the fact that she went to my school gives me motivation to become a journalist,” Grace said.
Grace developed her passion and love for writing while being exposed to magazines and other people’s experiences. “When I slept over at my grandparent’s house, I would wake up to them reading the paper and drinking their coffee,” she said. “I would flip through the news and see a variety of topics ranging in sports, politics and community events.”
She enjoyed the times that her teacher, Mr. Kravitz, shared his travel experiences to the entire class. Mr. Kravitz would explain all the different areas’ cultures and local people. This gave Grace a motive to be a journalist and one day travel as much.
In high school, Grace set her goals for her career and began to work ahead. She was part of a Girl Scouts program called Media Girls, which allows Girl Scouts to be featured in the media. “I have been on Emeril Lagasse, Good Morning America and News 12,” Grace said. “When I was able to go to these news stations, it was awesome seeing all the aspects of what goes on.”
She’s won multiple awards for her writing, including one from the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution and the Walt Whitman 29th Annual Young Poets Contest.
Grace’s hard work and dedication has been praised by her mother, Christine McKenna.
“Grace Anne is actively engaged in school clubs that have continued to benefit her interest in being involved in the community. She holds executive board and leadership positions in many clubs, which has provided her a voice in the school and the community,” Christine said.
Grace was amazed and excited when she found out her acceptance into the Robert W. Greene program.
“I am excited to discover the different fields within journalism: the writing, interviewing and the broadcast portions,” Grace said. “I look forward to enjoying the experience and meeting new people who share the love of journalism.”