By Rena Max
Hebrew Academy of Nassau County
Lyciaanne Pitts seeks out varying points of view.
The 15-year-old high school sophomore from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn started participating in Socratic Seminars at her school, NEST+m (New Explorations in Science, Technology and Math), in sixth grade. The class sat in a circle and debated questions raised by the topic they had just learned about.
“That really got me interested in other people’s perspectives,” she said.
After that, Lycianne started to seek out other’s opinions and began discussions with them. These discussions are Lycianne’s form of journalism. In the future, she hopes to share her thoughts on Black culture and pop culture in a podcast or YouTube channel.
“Women’s rights and race issues are what I mostly talk about in my journalism,” Lycianne said.
She is a member of the Black Student Union at her school. Lycianne will stand up for anything she believes in and address any insensitive comments she hears.
“When I hear someone say something off, or … something-aphobic, I stick up for that,” she said. “Any-phobic, I would stick up for that.”
While Lycianne is quick to defend herself and others, she also has a great sense of humor. Lycianne isn’t exactly a class clown, but she considers herself the goofy one in her friend group.
“It’s fun for me to make people laugh,” she said.
Her older sister, Natelle, said that Lycianne is, “always finding new ways to have fun and use her creativity in different ways.”
Lycianne hopes to channel her creativity into new directions during the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. She found the program because Natelle had previously attended a different program at Stony Brook University, so her sister decided to look at what other programs Stony Brook had to offer.
While she is unsure of future career choice, “[she] want[s] to learn how to better [her] writing, but also how to use the equipment to take videos,” she said. “That’s what I like … audio and video.”
Lycianne is an avid listener of the podcast Code Switch, where journalists of color discuss the impacts of race on society, and other podcasts. She hopes to learn skills that will allow her to make her own podcasts during the Greene program.
Journalism and social justice aren’t Lycianne’s only interests. While she undertakes various artistic projects and has been a Girl Scout for several years, her favorite activity is swimming. She went to the Y to swim with her father every Sunday until it closed due to the coronavirus, and she hopes to hit the beach soon when it reopens.
“What a lot of people like to do when they go to the beach is sit on the sand,” Lycianne said.
But — analogous to her approach to journalism — rather than simply observing, she likes to dive right in.