Nijha Young: Unafraid to challenge herself

By Christian Miller
St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School

Nijha Young has embraced writing since she was only a few years old.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” said the soon-to-be senior at Baldwin High School. “Teachers helped me develop it more and complimented me on it. It’s been like a method of expression that I feel suits me more than other things.”

The 16-year-old Roosevelt resident said she receives strong support for her writing from her parents, older sister, teachers and friends. Her father, Patrick Young, said he is extremely proud of his daughter. “When reading her writing, it’s like I am in the story and can visualize the scenery and follow the plot,” he said.

Writing school essays might be boring to some, but Nijha said she treats it as a challenge. She enjoys analytical papers the most, and has written about complex characters such as Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. Nijah said she would also like to try new kinds of writing. “I have an interest in creative writing,” she says, “but I’d have to work more at it.”

Nijha is involved in many school activities: the trivia club, mock trial, sign language club and stage crew. She is also the event coordinator for the school band’s executive board and has been an AIDS peer educator since freshman year. Nijha likes meeting others in these programs with similar goals. “It’s a good way to meet people you wouldn’t meet in your classroom,” she said.

As for college, Nijha said she is particularly interested in Georgetown but has also scheduled visits for Northeastern and Harvard. She takes interest in these schools because of their out-of-state, yet close-to-home distance. To help her get into these schools, she plans to take advanced placement Italian and has already taken advanced placement United States history and physics.

With a packed class schedule, Nijha said she finds it hard to balance her out-of-school and in-school writing.

“It’d be nice to write about things I’m more interested in,” she says, “and explore my interests and skills.”

Christian Miller: A journey through filmmaking

By Nijha Young
Baldwin High School

Christian Miller has showed interest in film since he began shooting YouTube videos on a friend’s channel in seventh grade.

Christian, a rising senior at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, was responsible for creating scripts and directing short comedy videos for the channel.

The oldest of four children, Christian has continued cultivating his interest in film throughout his high school years. On top of balancing a class schedule consisting of Creative Writing, Speech, AP Literature and U.S. History, among other courses, Christian contributed to the school’s newspaper and broadcasting department for the past three years.

Though Christian’s early film work focused mainly on comedy, his style expanded to various genres and perspectives over time.

“He goes through a variety of different things,” explained Andrea Miller, his mother. “Sometimes he’ll write from more of a historical, social studies, even current events nature and then it’s a little more straight-laced.”

Although Christian hopes to continue working on comedic movies in the future, Mrs. Miller said that he is also the type of person who is often willing to “try anything new.”

The West Islip teen’s experience, however, is not limited to what goes on behind the scenes of a production. Christian has also acted in a number of short films in addition to school productions like “The Music Man.”

The next step for Christian is deciding where to pursue his aspiration. At the moment, he is interested in attending Hofstra University or the University of Rhode Island. Whichever college Christian chooses, his field of study is not in doubt.

“I decided to stick with filming just because it made me happy when I did it with my friends,” Christian said.

Emily Bishop: Already an award-winning writer

By Lauren Nicks
Baldwin High School

Emily Bishop’s passion for writing piqued her interest in journalism as a potential career.

“My school doesn’t have any journalism classes, but I’ve always loved writing,” said Bishop, a 17-year-old student at The Stony Brook School.

Her passion led to her joining the school’s Journalism Club. It was during those after-school Journalism Club meetings where Bishop realized that writing was the perfect career for her.

“The idea of myself reading and reporting news to the student body was amazing,” she said. “I liked that. That’s where I’m comfortable. I like being in front of people and telling stories.”

Emily’s talent for journalism is widely noticed by her family, most notably her mother, Cheryl Bishop.

“Emily has loved all stories from a young age and was an avid reader even in elementary school,” Ms. Bishop said. “She wrote some outstanding essays then and had a poem selected for publication in a local community newspaper. I think that emboldened her to say she really enjoyed writing and considered it as a possible career.”

While Emily possesses superior writing skills − demonstrated by her annual winning of The Stony Brook School Writing Contest − her mother believes her curiosity makes her a good fit for journalism.

“She understands writing and has demonstrated capability,” Cheryl said. “She has done well in photography at school and enjoys it, but sometimes she is curious about how she could possibly become a host on the Today Show.”
Both Emily and her mother Cheryl believe that the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute at Stony Brook University is the perfect opportunity for Emily to gain insight on the inner workings of news organizations.

“The Stony Brook program appears to capture beginning to end of communicating in front of and behind the camera,” Cheryl said. “So I hope this helps Emily decide what area she might prefer or if journalism is even the best field for her to express herself.”

The week-long program Emily and other aspiring journalists are about to embark on is designed to provide training in skills that are necessary to the field of journalism. It will also allow students to meet and network with media professionals.

“I’m looking forward to a hands-on experience in tech and broadcast,” Emily said. “That’s something I don’t know anything about.”

Emily is also a ballet dancer. She has trained for over 10 years, and watched performances by famous companies such as the American Ballet Theatre at Lincoln Center.

While journalism isn’t Emily’s only topic of interest, she said it is the one that keeps calling her back. Emily believes that by attending the Greene Institute, she’ll discover if journalism is truly the career for her. She’s also keen on studying history and French in college, but she would really love to give journalism a shot.

“No matter what, I’d like to continue working on writing,” she said. “For me, writing is just something that comes naturally. I found my niche and became really comfortable about my writing, and it’s felt like that ever since.”

Lauren Nicks: Writing to make a difference

By Emily Bishop
The Stony Brook School

Acting was Lauren Nicks’ passion through middle and high school. However, during preparations for her eighth-grade performance in “Bye Bye Birdie,” she realized that she wasn’t as interested in acting as she was with the popularity that it offered.

“I started to look at acting as superficial, and I wanted to do something that would actually mean something to people and could actually help,” she said.

The 17-year-old senior at Baldwin High School looked to be a positive influence in her community. Friends and family suggested she consider becoming a journalist, so she began considering the possibility. The idea took hold while she was watching a news report two years ago.

“I was sitting at the dining room table, and there was this story on ABC News with Diane Sawyer,” Lauren said. “And she was in a different country, in the Middle East, and I was like ‘You know, I think I kind of want to do something like that. Go overseas, meet new people, and hear their stories.’ ”

Lauren was inspired to join her school newspaper, The Golden Wave, and eventually became a layout editor. There she not only developed her abilities as a photographer but also interviewed people and learned valuable listening skills.

“I’ve read her article on Black Lives Matter, and one thing I can say about her is that she is very involved in finding the truth and making sure often ignored stories are heard,” said her mom, Nakesha Nicks. She also praised Lauren’s curiosity and drive, qualities that she believes make Lauren a good fit for a career in journalism. Lauren says her parents have always supported her journalistic journey, as has her younger brother, Justin.

Lauren says that the main reason for her pursuit of journalism comes from her desire to connect with people and share their lives with the world. “What I really like is getting to know people, getting to hear their stories, getting to spread their stories, stories that need to be heard,” she said.

When one of her teachers set up a TV studio, Lauren was thrilled to be a part of that as well. Whether standing in front of a screen or delivering her school’s morning announcements for “Good Morning Baldwin,” she was delighted to be gaining more journalism experience.

Beside journalism, Lauren’s main interest is reading. As a child, she was mesmerized by the Harry Potter books and claims that reading those stories fostered her English skills and pushed her to become a better writer. She continues to search for books that transport her to different worlds and engage her imagination.

When Lauren learned about Stony Brook University’s Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, she applied because she believed it would improve her writing and networking skills.

Lauren knows she would like to attend New York University, but she is unsure about whether to pursue journalism in college. She hopes her week with the Greene Team will make her decision easier.

“I’m going to figure out if it’s something that I want to pursue later on,” she said. “Other people have been telling me that I was a good fit for journalism, but being here, I want to find it out for myself.”