Chelsea Sibri: Drawn to journalism and medicine

By Parker Schug
Bayport – Blue Point High School

Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Sibri has demonstrated her drive since childhood.

“I’m a very energetic and fun person, but when it comes to work, I’m very hardworking,” said the 17-year-old year old senior at The Scholars’ Academy, in Rockaway Park, New York.

As a young girl with the dream of becoming a doctor, Chelsea worked to reach her goal. Later, after discovering her interest in reporting, Chelsea began to excel in English class. Her newfound passion made her reconsider her dream, but for now she’s pursuing both science and journalism. “I am thinking about double-majoring,” she said.

Chelsea says she has always understood the value of perseverance. As the child of two immigrant parents, she saw the effects of diligence.  “They taught me that with hard work, you really do make it,’ Chelsea said. “That was motivation to work hard.” According to her friend Jonathan Mora, “Chelsea continuously pushes herself.”

Her go-get-it attitude is evident in all that she does. “I will be taking AP Biology, AP Psychology, AP English and AP Art History. I am on the swim team, I’m vice president of my Chemistry Club and I am part of the school newspaper,” she said. As if challenging herself in school is not enough, Chelsea also volunteers in a doctor’s office to get more experience in the medical field.

Despite her busy schedule, she still manages to have fun by going to concerts and exploring the city. “Life can be short so I really want to make the most of it,” she said.

At home, Chelsea is industrious, helping her mother prepare meals. She will continue on her intended path  with the great support from her family, especially her older brother Anthony, who she describes as “a parental figure”.

As much as she prides herself in being self-sufficient, her niece, Angeles, stated, “Chelsea’s not afraid to ask for help because she knows that it’ll help her in the long run.”

Although Chelsea was preparing for a career in the medical field by taking challenging science courses, she was also drawn to the intensity of journalism. What ultimately sparked her interest in media was where she was raised, just 45 minutes from Manhattan.  Ozone Park was a good place to get exposed to the excitement of reporting. “There is so much media in the city, and that impacted me. It presented a big opportunity.”

Chelsea feels that the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute For High School Journalists will be a crucial step in deciding whether or not journalism is for her. “I’m looking forward to the amount of writing we will do,” she said. “I feel like this week at Stony Brook will give me a closer look into what journalism really is.”

Whatever her career choice, Chelsea plans to continue writing. “Writing is my hobby,” she said. “It’s a great way to release stress.”

Yash Kumar: Hopes of becoming a sports journalist

By Brianna Depra
Hempstead High School

Having loved sports since childhood, Yash Kumar hopes for a career as a sports journalist.

Growing up, Yash was very active because his two older brothers would take him outside to play football and basketball. The Jericho High School junior liked to watch basketball and football, especially the Super Bowl and the NBA finals. Watching the commentators gave him the idea to look into sports journalism.

“Seeing Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless have the ability to communicate their knowledge and predictions on certain players and teams was the career path I wanted to pursue ever since a young age,” Yash said.

Yash took a journalism elective course in his freshman year.

“We knew Yash had a passion to pursue sports journalism,” said his mother, Roma Kumar. “We pushed him to enroll in the journalism elective, as long as he worked his hardest.”

He ended up finding his niche writing about local sports for his high school newspaper. In his freshman year, he won several awards for his work and was even published in the Jericho-Syosset Tribune on multiple occasions.

“Yash’s work as a freshman was phenomenal and even surpassed some upper classmen’s work who have been enrolled in the elective for a few years,” said his teacher, Susanne Valenza. She added that by the time he graduates, “he will be able to help all journalism students with their work.”

Yash was eager to polish his writing and took an AP seminar on research and critical writing techniques.

In school, Yash is vice president of the peer tutoring club. In his spare time, he likes to play video games and to hang out with friends.

After deciding journalism was his true passion, he applied to Stony Brook University’s Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists and was accepted.

“I was surprised to get accepted as a sophomore,” he said. “I’m excited to learn more about journalism in different mediums like photo and broadcasting. It’s also a relief to get away from my parents for a week.”

Brianna Depra: A rising drama journalist

By Yash Kumar
Jericho High School

Brianna Depra’s dream of becoming a journalist started with her passion for literature at a young age.

“Every time there was a book fair at school, I would always get so excited and stock up on books,” she said.

Classics including the Goosebumps books inspired her to start writing. Brianna created stories with themes including love, mystery and horror. Brianna didn’t want to just write as a hobby; she wanted to explore careers in writing. In her freshman year, Brianna became aware of journalism as a profession and was eager to learn more about it. Unfortunately, there weren’t any journalism classes or a school newspaper at Hempstead High School.

So she began to write in another medium — plays. In her sophomore year, she became fascinated with theater. Brianna was inspired by many of Shakespeares works and wrote monologues and scripts for the drama club when she wasn’t competing on the school’s swimming team.

Brianna received much encouragement from her AP English Language teacher, Felisha Prince, who encouraged her “to step out of my comfort zone,” Brianna said.

“Not only did I write stories and monologues, I started writing poems, biographies, and experiences,” Brianna said. “She showed me how to write with purpose, showing me how powerful diction and syntax is. Because of this AP class, my writing has improved so much.”

Just when Brianna believed she wouldn’t have any journalism experience in high school, Prince helped Brianna one last time before her junior year came to a close. Her teacher informed her of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists at Stony Brook University.

“I jumped at this opportunity,” Brianna said.

When she learned that she had been accepted into the program, her father, Ramon Depra, shared her excitement.

“When she told me about the journalism program, I knew this would be amazing for her because it will challenge her,” he said. “She is always writing, so a career in journalism is perfect for her.”

“I knew I wanted to be a part of this program because journalism is something I want to explore,” Brianna said. “Maybe I can report on plays and musicals. That’s a dream of mine.”

Taylor Yon: Eyeing an FBI career

By Sebastian Germosen
Archbishop Molloy High School

Taylor Yon wants to perfect her journalism skills and use them for a career in the FBI.

“I have always had a passion for writing, and I enjoy putting all of my thoughts on paper, and journalism gave me the opportunity to write in a way that could be read and informing,” said the 16-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Taylor’s experience in high school, scene of a massacre in  February, has driven her desire to become a part of the FBI.

Though she has no role models in the journalism industry, Taylor admires and respects The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. She also watches CNN for news and inspiration for her writing.

Taylor has achieved academic success in high school, where she has taken advanced classes such as AP World History and French 2. This year, she will take AP Biology, AP Psychology and AP Language Arts. She said that these subjects will help “broaden my horizon.”

Taylor writes for her school newspaper, Eagle Eye. She is active in health and fitness clubs and enjoys many hobbies and activities, including soccer and tennis, taking hot yoga classes with her best friend and reading.

Taylor’s friends describe her as very outgoing and adventurous, due to her love of trying new  things. Her friends go to her for help with all academic subjects except for math. Taylor’s family [Note: all, who?]  describes her as a person who loves to travel and broaden her horizons by learning about different cultures.

Despite her interest in writing, Taylor wants to attend the University of Maryland or Penn State and major in criminal justice to achieve her goal of becoming an FBI agent.

Attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas — where a gunman killed 17 students and faculty — hasn’t been easy for the students, including Taylor. She has used the shooting as an opportunity to expand her interest in journalism and writes stories beyond the scope of her school.

“The whole world was looking to us, and journalism was an outlet that showed the world we are more than a school shooting,” Taylor said.

When asked about her stance on gun control after the shooting, she said her belief is that people should not have access to assault rifles unless they are in law enforcement.

“I am not anti all guns,” she said. “I strongly believe in the Second Amendment as well, but assault rifles to me are a weapon of war and all they do is cause mass destruction to our country.”

Taylor sees the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists as a great opportunity for her to showcase her passion for journalism and to learn new things about the industry. Taylor learned about the program when her newspaper adviser, Melissa Falkowski, told her and her friend Zoe Gordon about it.

“I was and still am so excited to learn and grow from this program,” Taylor said. “I want to learn as much as I can while I’m there.”

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.

I found my passion!

I’m busy at work at the Long Island Ducks ballgame. Photo by Inna Ali. (July 18, 2018)

I came to Stony Brook University Saturday not remotely aware that I was about to have an experience of a lifetime. After five days at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, I can safely say that I have had the full journalism experience and it was great!

On the first day we warmed up by meeting to discuss the stories we were interested in writing about. The Greene Team was enthusiastically spitting out ideas. It was impressive.

We got straight to the action on the second day when learned the fundamentals of writing, reporting, photography and videography. My favorite part was photography. I was never interested in photography before because I wasn’t educated about it. But as soon as I learned about f-stop, shutter speed, ISO and exposure, I was ready to capture some magic.

On Tuesday, there were more lessons from the day before, and we prepared to for our field reporting assignments.

My favorite day of the whole week was Wednesday. We got a chance to meet professors and veteran journalists Marcy McGinnis and Connie Conway. I got a chance to sit in the broadcast studio and serve as a reporter as well as a member of the technical support team. I was nervous at first about speaking on camera, but I enjoyed it.

Later that day the Greene Team got a chance to tour Newsday’s newsroom and learn a little bit more about the paper’s history. Did you know Newsday was started by Alicia Patterson in 1940?

After the Newsday tour, we were journeyed to a Long Island Ducks game. We got a chance to hold a press conference with Michael Polak, the director of media relations and broadcast. Then we went out into the stands to interview people for our story. I approached people to ask them questions, something I wouldn’t have done in my normal day-to-day life. Some people didn’t want to talk, but I didn’t feel discouraged by it. As my mom always says, “You have to have a thick skin to become a journalist.” I guess I just developed my thick skin!

I really enjoyed my days here at Greene Insitute. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I will take the skills I developed here make them useful. I walked into this program torn between two professions—acting and journalism—and I’m walking away stuck on journalism. It has everything I’ve ever been interested in and I’m grateful to have had this experience.

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.”

The Basics

Chelsea Sibri 

Our day started out with an awakening we found unusual at this time of the year. Before arriving I had yet to experience waking up before 8a.m. in the last couple of weeks, but that easily changed when breakfast was assigned at 7:30a.m. After doing the math, I would have to be awake by 6:30a.m. at the latest. And after a day of traveling, this almost seemed impossible for the first day.

Breakfast accompanied with morning news on print was something rather new to me, as I am more familiar with turning on the T.V. in the morning to listen to the news. I picked up a paper struggling to not get it in my food, but after succeeding I enjoyed the articles and pictures of the Word Cup game I hadn’t been able to watch the day prior just to attempt to replace the experience.

Our first lesson of the day took us back to some basics of journalism; and to some of us, including myself, they were rather new. Sitting at the desk hearing these small details and regulations, I would have to admit I was a little intimidated. To train my brain to acknowledge and identify every single one of these regulations seemed like a challenge, and although I love challenges, it also seemed like I would need to come across trial and error multiple times before mastering the details of journalism.

Later on in the day, we were able to receive a photography lesson from Pulitzer Prize winner and Newsday Assistant Photo Editor John Williams. I have to say it was an extremely rewarding experience. With his feedback we will definitely be able to improve tomorrow and hopefully be much more comfortable with the multiple settings and aspects of the Nikon camera.

Our day ended with similar skills, but different areas. Instead of using cameras for still photography, we used them to capture the film basics. It was interesting to hear about the little aspects of filming for news. Some of these things would have never crossed my mind while just watching T.V.

So far, my knowledge about this industry has grown a great deal. I am very excited to explore all of the other subsections of this industry and be blown away by everything I had not known up to date.

 

 

Day Two

Our second day at the program was pretty intense but also very interesting. I own a camera, and I have never thought of all the different step you had to go through to take a picture. I would usually just set my camera on automatic and let it do all the work for me. Today was totally different. I had to worry about ISO, shutter speed, and F-stop all at once — it was compelling. After being outside taking pictures, we went back inside to observe and see what we had to improve. In my case, it was on the lighting. My pictures were over exposed.

Another category we worked on today was videography. A motto that we have been introduced to was “action, reaction,” which is to capture someone taking a picture by example, and then capture what they take in the picture. It was truly exciting to have a hands-on experience of the topics we heard our professors spend so much time talking about. Before all that, we were briefly introduced to reporting and interviewing.

This picture shows the main issue that I had when I started using the camera. My pictures were over exposed. (photo by Caroline Ledoux)

 

First Impressions

It’s hard to believe we’ve only been here for one day. So far we’ve already brainstormed about potential articles, learned the insiders tricks for conducting a good interview, and had an inspiring photography lesson. I think I’m not the only one who would say we’ve  had fun along the way, too. I loved bonding with my fellow Greene Team members over ice cream and trying not to get lost on our way back to the dorm. I can’t wait to make more great memories!