By Demi Cabness
HCZ Promise Academy 1 Charter School
Aarya Patel wants to be a political newshound.
It began indirectly with the 17-year-old from Port Jefferson getting interested in YouTubers such as Dig MC and PewDiePie who specialize in gaming videos. They inspired him to want to create his own channel.
“I grew up watching these famous YouTubers and always admired what they did, but never knew how much work it actually took to put the videos together,” Aarya said. He soon realized he needed to learn how to work with and be behind a camera, so he put his dream of becoming a YouTuber on hold.
In the meantime, the rising senior at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School tuned into numerous news stations and felt inspired.
“I loved watching the current political events, foriegn affairs and citizens standing up against injustice on channels like CBS and news platforms online like The New York Times,” he said.
The Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ movements are news events he enjoys watching unfold.
“Events like protests from these groups led my interest further into filmography, and I realized I wanted to be more than a YouTuber,” Aarya said. “I want to present to a large platform that can always watch. I want to be the person with the most important job, behind the camera, who captures the essence in events that everyone is eager to see.” He wants to be in a news station covering modern issues in the world and “capture the quick moments no one sees.”
His interest in journalism doesn’t end there. He found his way into photography as well when he took some of his most memorable photos on a family vacation to Hawaii. “I photographed volcanoes, beaches, sunsets and terrains,” he said.
He soon realized he was interested in both videography and photography, but he still didn’t know much about these fields as they applied to journalism. Luckily, his parents thought they knew the right program.
Speaking of the then-Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, Aarya’s mother, Pinky Patel, said, “I knew the founder, Howard Schneider … from when he would shop at my Hallmark store and remembered hearing of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. From knowing of my son’s raw talent and of the program, I urged Aarya to sign up.”
Though her son was a bit skeptical at first, she said, “I had to kind of push him to go in the program because he likes to do his own thing, but I told him that this program could be really useful in his life and future career.”
Aarya said he doubted himself in the beginning because the program was competitive, but when he was accepted he was thrilled. “I hope to learn the basics of journalism, get a better learning on filming equipment and cameras, make new friends and have a great time, with the help of this program.”