Academy News by Akolda, Aurora Central High School, Class of 2018

My summer so far with the Boys Hope Girls Hope summer program has been wonderful, with new experiences and lots of educational opportunities as well. In the beginning of the program the rest of my fellow scholars and I met Mike Lally. Mr. Lally took a tremendous amount of time out of his day to educate us on Journalism and why it’s such an important part of our everyday lives. Journalism is the process of gathering and transmitting news and information all over the world. There are so many different type of journalism from Investigative Journalism to Community Journalism. We were told that we would be specifically focusing on Community Journalism. Boys Hope Girls Hope was given a grant to interview older, preferably Latino members of our community and discover their stories and how they influence our community. Mr. Lally explained to us that every good journalist knows that everyone has a story to tell and no matter how little and simple they seem, they are still very important.

Along with written journalism we also learned about the art of photo journalism. For a few days we learned photography ethics such as the Rule of Thirds, Fill the frame, and leading lines. These are important rules in photography to remember when trying to capture the perfect photo. In addition to techniques we also learned how important it is to try and make the person we are interviewing or photographing feel as comfortable as possible because that’s when they started to open up to us.P1010530 (1024x768)

For my summer interview and biography I have chosen to interview Rachael Ahern from Aurora Youth Option and Grace Zolnozky at the Aurora Resilience Center.  Rachael Ahern has helped over hundreds of high school students like me find the the perfect mentor to match us with. Rachael is also in fact a mentor herself, and I’ am really looking to interviewing her because I think her career choice is very interesting. I would like to know more about why she decide to work with the youth over anything else. Grace Zolnozky is a kind and sweet lady and when I first met her last summer, I immediately felt a positive warm energy from her, and I just wanted to get to know her better. Grace also works with children with disabilities and mental disabilities as well, which is quite amazing to me. Grace has managed the Resilience Center for people who have been affected by the results from the Aurora shootings a few years ago.

In addition to our journalism and photography lessons we have also had the opportunity to learn from guest speakers who work in the field of journalism. One of our guest speaker that we had this summer was Mr. Jim Benemann. Mr. Benemann is an award winning news reporter for CBS Denver and he has even had the honor and privilege to interview President Barack Obama. One of the things he spoke to us about was the steps in which it takes to become a news reporter and why he loves his job so much. He said that he didn’t just love it only because he got to travel all over the world, but because he enjoyed talking to the people he met and just reporting news to the public. Jim Benemann also told us that to become a good interviewer, you must be totally engaged into what the person you are interviewing is saying and making very strong eye contact helps.

The last experience I want to tell you about is when I participated in Bird Banding. Bird Banding was an amazing experience because we got to see how birds are tracked all over the world. We even got to hold birds that were just found in the wild and watch the banding process. We were also given the opportunity to set the birds free after Meredith, one of the bird banding specialists, attached the bands onto the birds. And also we saw and held an extremely large Bull Toad. I wouldn’t recommend touching the toad though, it was so heavy and really slimy.

Overall I’ve had a wonderful time at the Boys Hope Girls Hope summer program and I finally get the chance to hang out with some of the Residential scholars. The Boys Hope Girls Hope summer program is a great way of learning throughout the summer and doing funny activities as well.