By Shian James-Harden
Gotham Professional Arts Academy
“Ain’t no time to hate, barely time to wait.” A quote from Jerry Garcia that Dan Stark of East Quogue lives by. To him, it means that “there’s too much anger in this world. There’s not enough time we have on this planet to be mad at one another.”
Dan, described by his friends as an outgoing and comfortable person to be around, has many passions that shaped who he is.
His love and appreciation for music that began when he was 9 has helped him become a talented musician. As a rising senior at Westhampton Beach High School, he is an active member of his high school’s pit orchestra and jazz ensemble while also participating in a band called En Fuego. One of the best parts of being on stage, as Dan puts it, is getting to share his passion with the world. “I feel like my best self when I am performing on stage.”
“I enjoyed the time when he was creating flyers for the Battle of the Bands,” Dan’s journalism teacher, Kristen Metts, said while discussing one of her favorite memories of him. “He designed flyers in Canva and had me print about 20 flyers. He and a classmate, Jake, went out to hang them in the school. He was back in a very short time asking for at least 20 more. His enthusiasm and excitement were memorable because it was the first big event for him post-COVID.”
Dan’s passion for journalism stems mainly from his investment in unbiased views on real-world issues. He noted that he values “being able to look at both sides of an argument and debate and respect it. I’m inspired to write to do my part on giving the world unbiased, fact-based news.”
This drove Dan to become his school paper’s editor, an experience that has helped him achieve his goals. “He quickly became my editor this year because he’s a fantastic writer and responsible,” Metts said. “He’s quirky in a good way — marches to his own beat and is respected by peers and school faculty.”
Dan applied to the Stony Brook University journalism program and the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. He hopes the experiences during “Greene Week” will help him on his desired path toward becoming a political journalist.
He hopes to learn editing and broadcasting skills so he can create dynamic content focusing on political analysis. His prior work showcases his recognition of how important distributing unbiased news is, something he hopes to provide through a successful career as a political journalist.
“Being in this program represents an incredible opportunity to sharpen my skills and increase my understanding of journalism,” Dan said.