Category Archives: Bios

Sharon Ahmed

Sharon Ahmed: Poetry and dedication

For Sharon Ahmed, grades have always been her first priority.

“Ever since I could remember, my parents always wanted me to be a doctor,” said Sharon. Then she found her true passion for writing. “It was in sixth grade that I discovered my talent for poetry.”

Her brother, Zubayer, would have her listen to lectures and spoken word poetry, which encouraged her to read her writings aloud. In sixth grade, she shocked the students and even the teacher with her poetry, she said.

“I love the thrill of getting up and reading my work aloud, which encouraged me to continue writing and expressing myself through rhymes,” said Sharon.

Although Sharon wanted to focus on math and science to push herself toward the career her parents wanted, her guidance counselor, Lonny Dugger, suggested she take a journalism course.

“I expected it to be an elective that would be an easy A because I consider myself to be a great writer,” Sharon said. “That’s where I went wrong.”

She found the constructive, but sometimes “brutally harsh” criticism useful in improving her writing. Fishon, her journalism teacher, told her that she should never take no for an answer and always know the importance of deadlines.

Around her sophomore year, Sharon began hanging around the wrong crowd, she said, steering her away from the bright future she had worked hard toward. Core classes didn’t seem as important to her anymore, but her love for journalism stayed strong.

“That was the only class I actually focused [in], stayed after for, and tried in, because I actually loved it,” she said.

Her hard work and dedication paid off when she won the second place Aura-Diaz award for first-person narrative at the Long Island Press Club conference at Hofstra University. “Winning an award for something I genuinely love doing felt great,” she said.

Sharon’s friend, Shaheda Mohammad, says Sharon has what it takes to be a great journalist. “She has strong social skills, which are a huge asset to journalism,” she said. “I think it will make her a strong girl for journalism.”

Her former editors, Brianne Garrett, Maggie Colbert and Elise Ambos, were role models, Sharon said. “I’ve never seen people work so hard at something,” she added. “They made me want to follow in their footsteps.”

After devoting long hours of hard work after school, Sharon was elected senior editor in chief of broadcasting in June.

Although Sharon said she would like to be a pharmacist in the future, her love for journalism endures. Fear that she won’t make money doing journalism makes her feel as though she will let her parents down, she said.

“My parents have always struggled and it’s time I pay them back,” she added.

Sharon said she was beyond happy when she was accepted into the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, eager to meet new people and improve her writing skills.

“Getting accepted to the program meant making it clear to me whether I wanted to go down this route,” she said. “I hope that I could get over this obstacle and figure out what I really want to do.”

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Lisa Angell

Lisa Angell: In it for the story

Telling stories is what sparked young Lisa Angell’s interest in the field of journalism.

“I was always watching the news and I naturally liked being in the loop,” said Lisa.

Lisa attends Mattituck High School, where she was a part of the school newspaper for her freshman and sophomore years. She then realized her love for film and transferred to her school’s broadcasting class for her junior year. Lisa plans to continue her study of news broadcasting into her senior year.

“It is by far my favorite class,” Lisa said. “It has made me love film editing even more.”

Lisa found out about the Greene Institute from her sister, Christine, who attended in 2011. “She had such a great experience I wanted to apply as well,” she said. Getting into the Greene program is one of Lisa’s biggest accomplishments in her journalism career so far, she said.

“Lisa is really driven and passionate about everything she does,” said Christine Angell, now a rising senior at Fairfield University in Connecticut. “When Lisa decides to do something she always follows through in a big way. I think that kind of energy is great for the program.”

Television has always been Lisa’s favorite journalistic medium.  “My career goal is to become an editor for TV or movies,” Lisa said. “If somehow I could find a way to incorporate journalism whether it be through news or documentary style pieces, that would be fantastic to bring all my interests together.”

Lisa’s broadcast journalism teacher, John Roslak, said he is impressed by her enthusiasm when it comes to helping others.

“How does Lisa contribute? How does she not — would be a simpler question,” Roslak said. “Lisa is one who is called upon continuously as fellow students know when they need something done, she will do it without hesitation.”

Besides journalism, Lisa plays volleyball, basketball and softball at the varsity level. She is the captain of her softball team and is the head pitcher. Lisa also plays an active role in student government as her class president. She also is a member of DECA, a business club.

“I like to be involved and my peers can count on me whenever they need assistance,” Lisa said.

Lisa incorporates journalism in her activities outside of the classroom. She says using the skills she learns in her journalism class has helped her in the real world.

“Running for class president I used social media a lot for my campaign,” Lisa said. “Also, when my volleyball team won the Long Island Championships, I made a news video for my broadcast class like a highlight reel.”

Lisa said she loves doing research to discover new ideas about what she writes about. Making sure she has a reliable source has been a struggle in her career as a journalist. For an AP assignment on how women are portrayed in the media, Lisa took a different approach than most of her classmates and wrote about how sex sells.

“It was a really fun paper to write because I love science and controversial issues,” she said. “Doing the all the research was hard because it is so controversial and hard to make sure sources are reliable.”

Covering stories that capture her audience’s attention is what Lisa strives to do when she is out reporting, she said. Sports are definitely one of her favorite topics to cover.

Traveling the world while covering stories would be a dream, Lisa said. “It would be awesome to be able to see the world and experience other cultures while doing what I love.”

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Kayla Aponte

Kayla Aponte: Widening her lens

A girl who says she sees everything clearer from behind a camera lens, Kayla Aponte found her interest in photography two years ago, when she dug through some of her uncle’s old camera equipment.

“I just liked the look of the cameras,” said Aponte. “I liked that I found it easy to take beautiful pictures, but I think what really got me into it was getting my first canon DSLR for my 15th birthday.”

As Kayla delved deeper into photography, she took all the classes her school offered on the subject.

“I actually care about my pictures,” said Kayla. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my pictures.”

Kayla said she desired to earn new skills and saw photography as an opportunity to attain more knowledge in an area that interests her. She learned everything from taking photos in a dark room to developing film to using Photoshop.

Kayla said her photography teacher, Melissa Bussewitz, played a significant role in her development.

“She has a wonderful sense of humor, is thoughtful both as a person and as an artist, and is very clever,” said Bussewitz. “Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new things set her apart and I was happy to recommend her.”

Kayla said getting accepted to the Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists was a game changer for her and her family. Growing up, her parents consistently tried getting her involved, from sports to clubs to camps, but she was always a tough nut to crack.

“I’m not very social,” said Kayla. “Sports or any of the clubs at school never sparked my interests; so settling for photography seemed like the only reasonable option.”

However, being the only student from Longwood High School, as well as one of the very few to be accepted into the program, Kayla’s family was instilled with a sense of pride.

“They were extremely proud of me,” said Kayla. “ My mom never shuts up when speaking about it to her friends.”

As Kayla reminisced about one of her pieces of work demonstrating selective toning, she described how a picture from her sweet sixteen was transformed and made black and white; drawing out the blue from her dress and pink from her brother’s shirt. “I like the simple things,” she said, “not destroying the picture.”

After graduation, Kayla plans to attend college – one of the first generations in her family to do so. She said she has a load of expectations on her back. After her brother decided to join the Marines, Kayla began to feel more pressure to attend college.

“All the focus is on me,” said Aponte. “After he left, I felt the need to live up to my parent’s expectations, but the pressure really roots from my parents desire for e to be successful.”

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Kelly Colligan

Kelly Colligan: Shelter Island, then the world

For Kelly Colligan, growing up on Shelter Island means even a trip to the mall requires a long trip including a ferry.

But Kelly is far from sheltered. She keeps busy watching movies, being active in her school, Shelter Island High School, and working at a souvenir shop.

“Playing sports, doing journalism and making excursions to other places on Long Island helps me to experience the world around me,” Kelly said. “I’m hoping once I graduate high school to college some place outside of Long Island and experience other societies and cultures.”

Kelly, 15, was one of nineteen students selected to participate in the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists this July.

Kelly’s interest in journalism arose two years ago during her freshman year of high school when her English teacher influenced her to join the class. She learned quickly and was soon promoted from staff writer to editor as a sophomore. Kelly said one of the main reasons she stuck with journalism was, the “realness” of it all.

“Writing articles, knowing that they may have an impact on society, is really cool,” Kelly said. “Journalism gives young people a voice that they are not given enough.”

When she is not in class writing stories and helping design the layout for “The Inlet,” her school’s newspaper, Kelly is an active teen. She plays multiple sports, including volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball.

“I really enjoy playing volleyball,” Kelly said. “I play on my school’s varsity team, and I play on a club team during the off-season.”

Her artistic side not only shines through her written work but also when she is acting on stage.

“ I have participated in school drama club since seventh grade, and I really enjoy that as well. This sounds corny, but I really enjoy making people laugh. I think that’s just the best feeling.”

Kelly said journalism has changed the way she approaches her writing.

“Journalism has improved my writing skills tremendously,” Kelly said. “It’s also taught me that print is risky, but sometimes as a writer, you have to take risks to become successful.”

As a staff writer during sophomore year, Kelly covered a wide range of topics. “I love trying new things,” she said.“. . . Seeing everything come together is exciting.”

Now as an editor, Kelly said she enjoys helping new writers develop their stories and putting the final touches on all the articles.

“I like getting a bunch of raw material and making it better,” Kelly said. “Seeing everything come together in the end makes me feel like I accomplished something worthwhile.”

For these reasons, she said, she hopes to continue studying journalism.

“Journalism is something I will somehow always take part in throughout my entire life,”Kelly said. “I feel privileged to be part of the selective Greene team.”

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Hanna Da'Mes

Hanna Da’Mes: Writing is easier than talking

Hanna Da’Mes, a rising junior at Riverhead High School, had her interest in journalism sparked by her school newspaper.

“I decided to join the club because I already knew of my love for writing,” she said. Before she knew it, she was the president and editor of her online school newspaper, Riptide.

Hanna undoubtedly has a passion for writing, saying “I like writing because for me it is easier than talking, easier to get my point across in the right way without holding back or freezing up.” She added, “I started to love writing about five years ago, but didn’t realize how much until two years ago.”

She said she especially loves writing fiction and fantasy in short stories, poems and prompts for her creative writing class at school. Hanna has even written introductions and outlined ideas for longer stories and novels. Hanna’s mother, Shana Fink, has seen Hanna’s work.

“She writes stories that captivate the reader,” she said. “Hanna is very inquisitive and honest. She is thorough in whatever she does.”

Hanna has started to expand her writing repertoire by investigating a journalistic path.

“I first was interested in journalism in ninth grade,” she said. “I wanted to explore all aspects of writing.”

Her newspaper club supervisor, Martin Faint, a former journalist, encouraged her to apply to the Greene Institute. In the program, Hanna hopes to learn more about broadcasting. “I have no experience in it,” she said. “I would also like to learn about video editing and other technological aspects of journalism.”

Hanna said her favorite aspect of journalism is that it shines light on the truth, giving people new perspectives and hopefully aiding others. “I like how journalism is not only hard facts, but opinions and angles, and I love how articles tell others of the good and bad in the world, whether it be global events or little acts of generosity and kindness,” said Hanna.

Thanks to the Internet, the world of journalism is evolving, including Riverhead High School’s online newspaper. Hanna enjoys being able to learn and interact with people from all over the world using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. “I think it is good because it is a great way to be informed of all other cultures, philosophies, and ideas.”

Along with writing, her dream career would be in stage acting. She has been acting for about six years and has been involved in shows such as The Wiz, Fiddler on the Roof and Tom Sawyer. Besides her school drama club, next year she hopes to become a member of the chamber choir as well.

Hanna’s mom says she is excited for Hanna to attend the program.

“I am happy she is on the Greene Team so she can see all the avenues journalism has to offer,” she said.

Although Hanna may not see herself as a future journalist, she says she is “willing to learn more about it, so that maybe it could be a sort of back-up plan. I do enjoy writing, however, and I would like a career that entails some form of it.”

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Yardalie Daniel

Yardalie Daniel: Excelling at language, loving journalism

Language is a craft, an art. Those who read, who write, who speak cannot help but be aware of that fact. Language is also a skill, one at which 15-year-old Yardalie Daniel excels. In fact, she learned to speak English in under a year.

Though one may not realize it upon first speaking to Yardalie, she is not a native English speaker. Instead, she hails from Haiti, where she spoke both Creole, a dialect used for casual conversations, and French, which is used in official documents and spoken by teachers in school.

However, Yardalie’s life changed drastically after an earthquake hit Haiti four years ago in January 2010, at which point Yardalie, along with her father and two sisters, moved to the United States to join her mother and brother who had previously settled in Huntington, New York. This forced Yardalie to deal with both a change in habitat and language. She initially spoke little English.

“Maybe I knew enough to say ‘Hi’ or ‘Good morning’,” Yardalie said. After the move, she was forced to experience a steep learning curve, and her English skills soon expanded. “By the end of the year, I could speak properly, but I still had the accent.”

For help with this new language, Yardalie turned to books, picking up teen books from her library in her spare time.

“Reading was a good help to learn English,” she said. “I read a lot of books, and my English became a lot more understandable. Reading was easier than speaking because I could see the similarities to French.”

It was this affinity for reading, along with a love of writing, which led to Yardalie’s interest in journalism. In her sophomore year of high school, Yardalie took a journalism class that reawakened a possibility for her. Though Yardalie had been a member of her school newspaper in her freshman year of high school, she was forced to quit due to conflicts in her schedule. The class revived her ability to be a journalist.

Yardalie credits her journalism teacher, Aimee Antorino, with having a large influence on this rediscovery.

“She’s lovely,” Yardalie said of her teacher. “She really motivated me, even though I was unsure, always pushed me to write stories and develop my writing.”

Antorino said Yardalie is a hard worker who succeeds.

“Yardalie is a very intelligent, mature young woman,” said Antorino. “She is more determined and eager to succeed than most high school students I know. I think it is very exciting that Yardalie has developed an interest in journalism at such a young age. Her life experiences will help her become a strong writer with many world interests.”

Coming out of the course with at least a base upon which to build skills, Yardalie said she is looking to become more responsible for her own writing and to improve her writing skills, as well as to expand her knowledge into the area of photography. Up to this point, her exposure to journalism has been purely in print, though she hopes that will soon change.

“I love challenging myself,” Yardalie said. “I’m just scared.”

However, there is still plenty of time for her fears to be allayed, as a professional career is still several years off for Yardalie. Besides, Yardalie currently views writing as more of a hobby than a career path.

She also has a love for business and design, and hopes to be able to work in a field that encompasses those areas, although if an opportunity to write for a living came up, she would love to pursue it.

“I’d love to maybe work for a magazine,” she said, her tone brightening.

For the time being, though, Yardalie will continue to hone her skills, working on picking up yet another language—this time from her high school Spanish class—and attending the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists this July at Stony Brook University.

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Laura Fallick

Laura Fallick: Following her father’s footsteps as a writer

Seventeen-year-old Laura Fallick has known she has a knack for editing and writing ever since she was a child. Having a dad who worked as an editor at Newsday, Laura would be brought Kidsday articles to critique and edit on a regular basis.

“Ever since the day my dad first brought me to Newsday, I’ve had a passion for journalism. I loved the aura of the newsroom and constant research and reporting on events,” said Laura, speaking of her father, Alan Fallick.

Shortly after that, the aspiring journalist began writing her own articles featuring celebrities, athletes and other remarkable figures.

“Two celebrities I interviewed were singer Colby O’Donis and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer,” she said. “Interviewing them was an exciting experience and it felt like I was a real reporter. It was exhilarating and enlightening.”

But her dedication and interest did not stop there; as she became older, her talent only matured and flourished as did her love for journalism, she said.

Laura’s commitment and determination shown in writing is also expressed in almost everything she does. She has been on the Honor Roll since sixth grade, is an avid member of the English Honor Society as well as the Quill and Scroll Honor Society, and regularly contributes to the high school yearbook at Commack High School.

Rising Senior Alyssa Smail, Fallick’s best friend, commented on her energy and diligence: “[Laura] is outgoing and energetic all the time… she has come a long way in the last few years;” she added, “I had English [class] with her this year and she was always willing to proofread my work.”

Smail further added that her high-achieving peer has very strong opinions and “always shows interest” in basically any subject. For example, Laura firmly believes that writing should be encouraged at a young age. Just as she was encouraged by learning from her dad, she advises “[parents and others should] let [their] child write about themselves and their feelings.”

Fallick strives to be a conscientious student and a rising writer.

As for her writing, Laura’s style is to focus is on one point.

She said that her strength lies in her grammar and spelling. The writer concentrates on one specific topic with immense and lucid detail(s). “I want them to feel as if they know every detail about the topic, but not overwhelmed.”

When asked about some weaknesses she humbly stated, “I am quite repetitive when I feel [as if] I have nothing else to say.”

This energy and excitement has led Laura to use her writing to convey different messages to her audience and make a difference.

“My favorite part about writing is that I have complete control over the intended message,” she said. By using the right amount of detail, not too much or too little, Laura manages to find the balance that allows her to write an article that is both concise and full of detail.

Laura is also furthering her own journalistic endeavors by becoming a part of the Greene Gazette community. Thrilled about the opportunity, Laura said she hopes to learn about the different technology used in the field and learn the various strategies and methods used to become a successful journalist.

“I’m hoping to hone my writing skills during the week,” she said. Even more so, Laura wants to pursue the profession in college, saying she wants study at Stony Brook University. This opportunity is one step closer to learning the ups and downs of the journalism field.

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Madison Flotteron

Madison Flotteron: Getting to the bottom of truth

Madison Flotteron had no intention of pursuing journalism as a career until her ninth grade English teacher, Walt Fishon, encouraged her to take the journalism class offered at her school, Bay Shore High School.

“I fell in love with how everything works and getting to the bottom of the truth,” she said.

This class was only the beginning of her journalistic journey. She says her uncle, Pat Mullooly, editor of Kidsday at Newsday, is the true inspiration behind her passion for journalism and writing. Madison was introduced to the “real world” of journalism when her uncle would take her to interviews, where she would help him write the stories.

“The one thing that attracts me most to journalism is that one answer isn’t good enough,” said Madison. “You need to talk to everyone to get a story straight and I love how reporters will do just that.”

She said she believes that a story does not only involve a single person, but everyone who has witnessed the same events and has participated in making the story what it is. She admires reporters who have the ability to look at a story from all perspectives.

“I look up to them because they don’t put their personal opinion into a story,” she said. “They’re able to tell it without having any bias.”

Madison, 17, heard about the Greene Gazette program from Fishon, a Stony Brook University alumnus who took courses in journalism. “Madi has the ability to connect with the person she is interviewing,” said Fishon. “She listens and builds off of the conversation.”

He described Madison as effervescent, inquisitive and passionate.

She also heard about the program from a classmate.

“My Editor-in-Chief, Brianne Garrett, also went here the year prior and told me to apply because she loved it,” Madison said.

In school, Madison is editor of the newspaper, Brightside, and she is also the news producer for the school’s broadcast, BSHS News.

“The experiences I have had in journalism makes me love it more and more,” Madison said. “My newfound interest is broadcasting because I love being in front of the camera. It just feels natural to me.”

She said she would love to be a reporter for major news channels, such as Fox and CNN. She said she would like to double major in business and communications in college. explaining,  “…communications because I like journalism and talking to people, and for business because I like money and being the boss,” she said.

Madison is captain of her cheerleading team, the coach for her town’s cheerleading youth program, and the head coxswain for her school’s crew team. “I am part of “Keep Islip Clean Junior Commissioners program,” which is a select few from many school districts who come together to think of ways to improve our community’s environment,” said Madison.

She said she hopes to change the world by giving the people information that will undoubtedly aid them in some way. “I believe journalism influences the world around us by getting straight to the truth,” said Madison.

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Lea Greene

Lea Greene: Learning her grandfather’s legacy

Lea Greene is perhaps the one member of the Greene Team who has the greatest reason to participate in this program. Lea’s grandfather was Robert Greene, the famous Newsday investigative reporter and the man whom this program is named after.

Bob Greene earned his fame by writing gripping investigative articles. One of his most famous articles was about tracing how heroin moved through the Middle East and across Europe and how it eventually ended up on Long Island’s streets.

But, having a famous last name does have some drawbacks.

“I feel a lot of pressure, and that everyone is curious about me,” said Lea. “[But] one of the reasons I decided to attend this program was to see what people thought about my grandfather.”

Lea was born on January 11, 1996 in Saint James, Long Island. However, when she was three years old her family moved to the small town of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. Lea is a rising senior at Southern Wake Academy, a charter school in her town.

She chose to attend Southern Wake Academy over her local public high school because of the smaller class sizes at the charter school, which allows teachers to focus their efforts on a smaller amount of students.

Teaching methods are especially important to Lea because of her plans for the future. She hopes to attend East Carolina University and earn a teaching degree. She aspires to become a teacher specializing in early education. Her primary motivation for choosing this career path as she described was “to see and help kids learn and grow.”

Besides journalism, Lea has a wide variety of interests. She played soccer for various teams over seven years before a knee injury forced her to give up the sport. Lea has a passion for reading. In fact, when asked to name her favorite book she simply replied “I have too many favorite books to name.”

However, she did admit to being “in love” with the bestselling young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (unrelated to the Greene family by the way). In addition, Lea is also a fan of Shakespeare’s works. She particularly enjoys his most famous tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.”

Just like “The Fault in Our Stars,” the play centers on an unlikely romance between two young people. In the world of music, Lea’s favorite band is All Time Low. But her favorite song is by a completely different artist. It is called “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves.

For most members of the Greene Team, this program is primarily about improving our journalism skills, developing new ones and getting a taste of what college life will be like. But, for Lea Greene, there is an additional reason.

Lea desires to experience the profession to which her grandfather dedicated his entire life, learning some of the skills that he used on a daily basis, and connecting with her grandfather’s past.

“It [being part of the program] brings back flashbacks and stories about by grandfather doing what he loved,” Lea said.

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Mary Kate Guma

Mary Kate Guma: ‘Being at the school newspaper meetings help me feel alive’

Mary Kate Guma never thought she would have a passion for English and journalism.

But the 16-year-old Locust Valley rising senior has developed a love for the subject. She said she is hoping to gain even more experience during this week on the staff of the Greene Gazette at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists at Stony Brook University.

Her shyness has never kept Mary Kate from showing her passion for journalism. Rather, quite the contrary is true; the field helped her to come out of her shell and express herself and her talents to the public.

Mary Kate has been a member of her school’s newspaper, The Voice, since entering Locust Valley Middle School. She will become the club’s editor-in-chief for her final year at her high school’s newspaper, the Spectrum. Her school’s staff has nearly 10 editors and 15 writers. She said she plans on trying to bring add more staff and, perhaps, start an online version of the paper.

She was born in Locust Valley and still lives there with her parents and younger sister, Olivia. Mary Kate said she enjoys traveling and that she recently traveled to Canada and referred to the trip as an “exceptional visit,” mainly because of her interest in learning French. She also enjoys skiing in the mountains of Connecticut, where she spends time with her aunt.

One of the things she likes to do most is eat French toast, which she described as her favorite food. And she is not afraid of doing so at any time of the day, even at 11 p.m.. She enjoys participating in various clubs and playing golf and volleyball.

Furthermore, Mary Kate said her journey to becoming a journalist derived from her love for reading. As a child, she enjoyed reading classics such “Anne of Greene Gables.”

She said that she found “comfort,” in reading and that it “was a way to express herself” as a child.

History has been her favorite subject in high school since she enjoys learning about other people. Plus, she said, it’s always been a subject to discuss with her family members.

However, her English teacher, Mary Greco, has given her a new perspective by analyzing literature and talking in-depth about books she uses in her class.

If being a journalist is what she her destiny is, she hopes it’s in the writing area of the field. She said she is excited and feels that it’s important to her because she will get to concentrate on one thing and have the ability to know “how it feels as a career.”

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Colin Maloney

Colin Maloney: A leader in and out of the newsroom

For Colin Maloney, a rising junior at Chaminade High School, writing has been a longtime passion.

“I’ve always been interested in writing since I was in grade school,” Colin said. “My freshman year in high school is when I got involved in journalism and joined my high school newspaper, Tarmac.”

The process of writing and editing intrigues Colin, he said.

“My favorite part about working for the Tarmac is getting the chance to come up with a story idea, investigate it and then see it through to its publication.”

But it’s not always easy, he said.

“The challenging part is, if I’m editing someone else’s work and I miss something, it’s my fault now, not the writer’s,” Colin said. “The way I handle it is just to take my time and be very thorough.”

In addition to journalism, Colin has played basketball, practiced the trumpet and participated in student government.

He’s also an officer in his school’s Intramural Officials Club.

“We run all of the intramural sports that take place after school,” Colin said. “As an officer, I have to make sure the other refs are signed in and on time to set up all the equipment and to make sure everything’s cleaned up when it’s over.”

He’s drawn to such leadership positions, he said, because he wants to make a difference.

“I hate seeing things sloppily done. I never say it’s someone else’s problem. If something’s wrong I try to fix it,” said Colin. “My whole family is the same way. In fact, my dad has to edit contracts for a living as a lawyer and if he makes a mistake it can cost him his job so I think that’s where the thoroughness comes from.”

Colin enjoys following foreign affairs, and he said he hopes one day to be either a foreign correspondent or a State Department employee.

Participating in the Greene program is one more step along that path.

“Colin was very interested in learning to be an investigative reporter and what better place to learn those skills then the Greene Institute founded by one of the country’s best investigative reporters, Bob Greene,” said his mother, Lisa Maloney. “He appreciates the skills and efforts of journalists who are able to bring important issues affecting the world to a wide audience through their stories, often at great personal risk.”

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Jacqueline Napolitano

Jacqueline Napolitano: Born to broadcast

Jacqueline Napolitano, a Commack High School junior, has her eyes set to be in front of the camera. When she was as young as 12 years old, Jacqueline was inspired to report: Her idol was none other than former NBC “Today Show” host Katie Couric.

She wants to broadcast news, not just write it.

“I hope to work for something like The ‘Today Show’ or even ‘E! News’” Jacqueline said, speaking of her future.

In her sophomore year in high school, Jacqueline took a TV studio class and saw just what it was to be a broadcast journalist along with expanding her horizons, both socially and creatively.

“I took it in 10th grade, and that’s when I found out I could be myself and I found other people who were just like me,” she said. Jacqueline said that, although she had already found her clique of best friends, she would have never made many of the good friends she has now without that class.

In her junior year, Jacqueline rejoined her school’s newspaper, The Courant. She used the newspaper office along with the TV studio as a place to escape the everyday problems of high school.

It became apparent to Jacqueline that being in the newspaper office or in the studio was where she could really express herself. “It was a way to expose who I was”, she stated, “When I was on camera especially, I could be goofy and serious while reporting.” Not only did she show her charm on camera, Jacqueline was able to show her personality on the page as well.

After a brief hiatus, she returned to the school newspaper as a staff editor with high hopes of becoming editor in chief. She credits Christina Semple for her talent as a journalist.

“She taught me everything I needed to know in such a short time” Jacqueline said.

When it comes to college, Jacqueline has her sights set on Syracuse and just about any other major journalism school. She expects to change her minor countless times, but states that broadcast journalism will be her major throughout college.

In the near future she expects to learn a lot from the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, not just from advisors but the other attendees as well, and she hopes to get a taste of college life.

The “Today Show” had put broadcast journalism in Jacqueline’s mind, and it hasn’t left since. Her parents supported her in this and have encouraged her every step of the way from then to now.

“They are extremely supportive in whatever I do,” said Jacqueline. According to the future journalist, Jacqueline’s parents always raised her to believe she could accomplish everything she set her mind to.

This passion was accompanied by great personality and optimism.

“Jacqueline has the potential to be a great journalist because she is outgoing and she can get along with everyone,” said Melissa Minerva, Jacqueline’s friend of 10 years. “The greatest quality about Jacqueline is her personality.”

When she reached middle school, Jacqueline found herself chasing her dreams as part of her school newspaper. Although she had always been fascinated by reporting, Jacqueline states that it was a good step towards the real deal. Although she excelled as a journalist, Jacqueline says she feels that she belongs in front of the camera, broadcasting the news.

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Leslie Perez

Leslie Perez: A voice that came out through writing

Senior year for Leslie Perez was a new beginning: she wrote her way through her first year of being involved with journalism.

“I believe reading and writing go side by side, so for my senior year I wanted to be a part of the Black and Gold, my school’s paper,” said Leslie, who is 19 years old. Uniondale High School’s newspaper, The Black and Gold has a section designated for it on the high school’s website.

Leslie has always appreciated writing as much as she appreciates the English language, as much as a swimmer appreciates water or a gymnast appreciates floor mats. Leslie found a warm gratitude for writing as she realized that she “had a voice and it came out [through writing].”

Becoming an avid writer for the newspaper club, Leslie earned a plaque for her work on the publication this year and her teacher, Stacey Locurto, suggested she apply for the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists; Leslie eagerly seized the opportunity.

“I want to be a part of the fashion world and work throughout the Big Apple and be a part of its movement and also associate journalism with it,” Leslie said. “I’m glad Mrs. Locurto helped through the application process for the program; with the program I wish to enhance what I already know with creative people as we have a good time learning.”

When Leslie was a youth in elementary school, her teachers told her that she had great writing ability. Leslie accredits an elementary teacher that taught her the “beauty” of words and how to analyze sentences for her fascination of writing and reading.

“I find writing difficult when my mindset isn’t flowing. When in need of inspiration, I reflect on life experiences in a way that is not personal, but more so helpful,” said Leslie. “My biggest motivator is probably my family. My mother always tells me, ‘I tell you things that hurt so that you can take it and run with it and prove me otherwise.’ I strive to do that because it’s not to deprive you of success but to gain it.”

Leslie describes herself as self-determined, observant, ambitious, creative and outgoing. When she isn’t writing she can be found doing many different things to pass time.

“I enjoy being on YouTube and watching people perform and audition. I like being with friends and family, from playing badminton outside to sometimes just revamping my clothes in my room.” she said.

Being a recent grad who aspires to a fashion career alongside some type of journalism, Leslie is curious for the future that journalists have in store in regards to technology.

“I want to know what journalists can do that doesn’t involve only paper and pen but creates more visual articles that intrigue the outside world.” said Leslie.

“Not everything is always easy, I find that when I’m stuck and give it some time, something lovely will develop,” said Leslie. “Broadcasting must be hard work but sounds like a fun time. I feel like there is a lot of hard work, but things like getting make-up done may make it fun, at least in my opinion.”

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Jason Reid

Jason Reid: From a hard past to a better beginning

Seventeen-year-old Jason Reid likes to stand out in the crowd— wearing a bow tie every day and portraying a sense of individualism in his writing.

Jason’s freshman English teacher sparked an interest in Jason for journalism. The class did a project in which they had to interview their peers, which Jason found very fascinating.

“I found interviewing people and recording who they are and bringing them to life on paper was something I could do,” Jason said.

Being the editor of his school newspaper, The Golden Wave, has had many high points, Jason said, especially for his writing career so far. In a recent article, he wrote about voters passing his school budget, a year after it was cut. He felt that the article opened a lot of eyes to the administration of his school. It made him feel his writing mattered.

“The effects that my writing had on people made it seem like I had a great impact,” Jason said.

Many journalists have a role model in the business, someone they want to emulate or someone that inspired them to become a journalist. For Jason, it is Anderson Cooper. In 2010, Jason was on CNN with Anderson Cooper when he talked about being bullied in the past.

“Seeing what he did and watching his other shows, how he goes to other places and shows what is really happening made me want to do the same,” Jason said.

Jason has a mindset of being who you are and not caring about what other people think; he doesn’t feel the need to fit in if he is not being himself.

“Hence the bow ties,” said Jason.

His mother, Michele Reid, said it takes a while for her son to get comfortable – but that he eventually opens up.

“Once he is pulled out of his shell he is funny and witty,” she said. “Jason is very artistic and has a thirst for knowledge.”

Jason’s past of being mistreated physically and emotionally by other students is the main reason he chose to get into journalism.  After his experience with Anderson Cooper and that of other students who were being picked on constantly in school, Jason wanted to be the person that found the good in the bad things.

After the CNN experience, he knew journalism was something he wanted to do.

“[Journalism] has not only let me stand out as a person. It has allowed me to take in sharing topics that might otherwise go unnoticed,” said Jason.

As Jason develops a new chapter in his life of being unique and his own person, he embarks on the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists and hopes for it to be a learning experience. He hopes to be taught a new writing technique and expand his horizons on how to put pen to paper, while also being excited about about having new experiences.

Jason hopes one day to work for Newsday. But, as far as college goes, Jason wants to study at SUNY Plattsburgh and dual major in journalism and communications. He strives to be the editor of the newspaper on campus and one day hopes to become a political journalist.

“Journalism has become endangered and I want to be part of the wave of reporters that bring it back,” Jason said.

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Reid Rubio

Reid Rubio: A track record of success in journalism

Reid Rubio comes to the 2014 Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists program with impressive skill. Only a sophomore, he was chosen to join Westhampton Beach High School’s broadcast journalism class—a seniors-only program.

Since then, his skill has only grown: as a part of the weekly “Hurricane Watch” program at his school, he has worked in editing, both as an anchor and as director of installments. The program was his first experience in journalism, and he instantly immersed himself and was surprisingly adept at each task given to him, he said.

Teacher Kirsten Philips, who selected Reid for the program, can attest to this.

“Reid is by far one of the best broadcast journalism students in my class this year,” she said. “I recommended him for this program because I believed that it would be a perfect match for him.”

A perfect match it was: In an installment of “Hurricane Watch,” Reid was able to create his favorite “package”—a piece on the Winter Olympics of 2014, in which he used a green screen and created his own virtual set.

In other packages as well, Reid has been able to develop new skills in all avenues of journalism, particularly digital news and other new media outlets. A valued member of “Hurricane Watch,” Reid is a talented student with a passion for well-told news stories.

Outside of his past experience, Reid, a rising junior, comes to the Greene program with an important task: he arrives at Stony Brook this summer to determine whether pursuing journalism in college is the right path for him.

“I am actually in this program to find that out for myself,” he said.

While he does enjoy journalism, he is conflicted about whether or not he would enjoy it as a lifelong career. This summer will not only be important in enhancing journalistic skill, but in paving the path to his future.

His mother, Stacy Rubio, said she can also see the value in Reid attending the Greene program: “I believe that this program will be a great decider for Reid to see whether or not he will pursue a career in this field in the future.”

His broadcast teacher, Mr. Philips, informed him that the Greene program would be “a blast,” as did peer Emma Galasso, a Greene Team alumna from Reid’s school.

“She said that I would shine out at this camp and believes I have a career inside of it.” Reid said, a smile on his face. After this summer’s program, his answer will be determined and, perhaps, a career in journalism pursued.

Reid had an answer at the ready when asked about his favorite journalist.

“Robin Roberts,” he said enthusiastically. “She is such an inspiration with her amazing stories of how she brought “Good Morning America” to being one of the most-watched morning news programs in the nation. My mom got to meet her last month, and [she] told me all about just how great of a person Robin really is.”

The written word is not his only passion, however—he has an athletic side as well. Reid is a year-round competitive swimmer for Westhampton Beach’s varsity swim team, as well as a swimmer for Islanders Aquatics.

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Alejandro Serrano

Alejandro Serrano: Writing to make a difference

Bay Shore High School student Alejandro Serrano said he wants his writing to have a big impact.

“I’d like to be known for something ‘ginormous’ and would love to make a difference of some sort with my writing and if I touch at least one person by doing so I have accomplished a lot,” he said.

He already has.

At a recent Hofstra University Long Island Press Awards ceremony, he represented his school—which racked up awards for its journalism left and right—and Alejandro left the event with an award of his own for his coverage of national education.

Walt Fishon, Alejandro’s English teacher for his freshman year, introduced him to journalism, and Alejandro has been writing for his school paper since.

During his sophomore year, one of his stories made the front cover. The article was about a Mandarin Chinese course being offered at his school.

In his junior year, he was features editor of The Maroon Echo, and in the upcoming year he will be the co-editor in chief of the paper of his club. He will be sharing his title with a classmate, making it the first time in a couple of years that two editors have taken the reins of the club.

He has also written two poems, “If only” and “perhaps,” which were published in his school’s annual magazine, The Writer’s Block. He said that creative writing has become an interest for him this past year.

Despite his successes, Alejandro said one of his worst fears is to be judged when writing a column by overly critical peers.

“I’m afraid to be judged by vicious high school teenagers,” he said.

When he’s not writing or studying—academically, Alejandro is an honor roll student—he participates in crew, a water racing sport involving a group of people working simultaneously rowing a canoe against other crew teams.

At one point, he lost a lot of weight because of the grueling crew workouts and competition and he was diagnosed with superior mesenteric artery syndrome, a digestive disorder.

But he said the experience helped him.

“I learned to look out for myself and maintain a balance,” said Alejandro, who has won two Long Island championship medals for rowing.

When it comes to his future plans regarding journalism, Alejandro said he was not inspired by any event in particular. But, he said, his interest in reading the newspaper coverage of national events and worldwide tragedies gave him a sense of how destructive the world can be and how fragile life is.

He is fascinated by the idea of being able to provide others with news and information. He aspires to write a novel, remain honest and become a trustworthy source.

“A world with no communication is unknown,” he said.

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Courtney Taylor

Courtney Taylor: Teen scribe and lit scholar

Many people might find planning for the future a scary topic. However, the future is clear to Courtney—receiving her doctorate in English literature.

Although Courtney is planning on pursuing an English major degree, she’s currently in the Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists program at Stony Brook University.

When asked why she chose a journalism camp, Courtney responded, “My interest in journalism began when I took a creative writing class last year at my school that was linked to a journalism one. I had never been interested in journalism before, but the class piqued my interest and made me want to learn more.”

Being 17 years old and going into her senior year in high school, Courtney faces the pressures of choosing the right colleges for herself after her final year in high school while juggling living at home with five siblings and trying to get her schoolwork done.

With all of these challenges, Courtney’s family knows her goals and shares her vision.

Lauren, Courtney’s older sister, said, “Courtney’s always loved to write, so she’ll definitely enjoy being at Stony Brook learning at the journalism camp.” Sandra, Courtney’s mother, said Courtney has had a passion for writing from a young age.

“In first grade, she’d bring stories she wrote to school and have the teacher read them during ‘circle time’ —so, she’s always been interested in writing,” her mother said.

Based on her older sister and her mother’s opinions it is clear that Courtney has always had a talent for writing.

Courtney, who currently attends Massapequa High School, has written many articles and papers that have been published in her school newspaper, which shows a commitment to a higher standard of writing. Courtney finds inspiration in Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America.”

She thoroughly enjoys watching him on the news and hearing everything he has to share with the public. When Courtney isn’t spending time at school, she likes to pick up on some of her hobbies.

“My hobbies include reading, writing and acting,” Courtney said, adding, “I’m president of the drama club at my high school.”

All of her hobbies have helped to guide her in making a decision to major in English literature. Courtney believes there is truth in the saying that everything you do paves the way for what you are going to do in the future, including the Journalism Camp.

Timothy, Courtney’s father agrees: “I remember reading Robert W. Greene’s work and since Courtney is a writer too, I’m really proud of her for getting a place in such a program.”

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Noelia Vazquez

Noelia Vazquez: Many interests, singular passion

Noelia Vazquez does it all. Aside from singing, dancing, acting, teaching and traveling, Noelia possesses a driving passion for journalism. Noelia is proud to be a part of her school newspaper, East Islip High School’s The Broadcaster. When some students from the paper spoke with her English class about joining, she ran down to her guidance counselor to sign up.

“When I see someone passionate about something, it makes me want to try that exact thing,” Noelia explained.

Everything about Noelia is social: “I genuinely just love talking to people,” she said. “I think that’s one of the things that attracted me to journalism in the first place. I wanted to interview people find out their story and share it. Just interacting with new people to me is exciting.”

Noelia recalled creating her first article, remembering how she had to interview more than 15 students and teachers on their experiences in musical conferences. After finishing that article, Noelia decided that her one of her favorite parts of journalism was interviewing people.

“I like hearing people’s stories,” Noelia said.

Later on in her journalism career, she ran into a practice that almost all journalists loathe—censorship. Noelia wanted to write an article on a controversial topic, East Islip’s school mascot, the “Redmen.”

Noelia’s idea was shut down because her journalism class, including her teacher, believed it might offend the school board and didn’t want to bring unnecessary attention to the topic.

“We are still young and limited to what we can write about,” she said. “That’s probably the most difficult part of journalism.”

Singing and dancing is also a passion for Noelia—she’s even tried out for the TV talent completion “X-Factor.” She participates in the school musical every year, and has a big appreciation for music. But performing is not the only tool in her toolbox. Noelia speaks fluent Spanish and quite a bit of Chinese. Reading is a large hobby or hers as well.

“When I go to the library I take out nine books,” Noelia said. “But I have a life, I swear!”

In addition to attending this program, she plans to stay busy. She has four jobs:  answering phones at a Chinese restaurant, working at an Italian ice place, babysitting and teaching religion. Following in her sister’s footsteps, Noelia plans to dedicate a couple years of her life to just traveling.

Noelia said she hopes these experiences expand her horizons so that her writing can make an impact, saying “I want to write pieces that make people feel.”

She recalled being approached by an underclassman whom she did not know about one of her opinion pieces on society’s rigid expectations of women. The student said she was pleasantly surprised that the newspaper was writing about issues that teenagers could relate to.

“It makes me feel good when people are positively affected after reading my articles,” Noelia said. “That’s what keeps me coming back to the idea of becoming a journalist in the future.”

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Daniel Walocha

Daniel Walocha: Passions that extend outside the newsroom

Award-winning journalist Daniel Walocha has been acknowledged for outstanding work on his school newspaper, Horizon.

Known as Dan to his friends, he made his journalistic debut in ninth grade, writing for Lynbrook High School’s newspaper about his school’s band competing at Hofstra University. Dan said the band teacher liked what he wrote and appreciated the coverage.

“I follow the rule of the inverted pyramid to make sure it’s concise and full of details,” Dan said about a style of writing in which the lead has the most important information.

Dan’s high-flying achievements in journalism have earned him second place for Best Feature Article at the Adelphi Press Day and third place for Best School Feature. One article featured a school janitor and the other focused on the history of Class Night, a major event at Dan’s school.

Journalism, though, is not the route that Dan desires to take in the future. He said he has no plans to major in English or journalism. “I like writing and reading as pastimes,” Dan said. “I’m not such a huge English person, but I appreciate the subject.”

So why does Dan, also a member of Driftstone, the school poetry club, like writing so much?

Dan said it helps him express himself as well as voice his beliefs. He also said writing is a great way to construct one’s thoughts and transfer them onto paper. An individualistic thinker, Dan said he has strong opinions on almost any topic, making him unique: He takes one side and sticks to it.

“Dan has taught me how you have to stand up for your opinion,” said friend Samantha Laskin. “If there are complainers, let them complain. They can’t do anything to you.”

An aspiring surgeon, Dan said he has volunteered at Winthrop Hospital in the neurology center every Saturday since November. Influenced by his older sister, currently studying medicine at Poland’s Poznan University, he plans to major in science and go into medicine.

“We’re both very science based,” Dan said, “but I also just want to help people and save lives.”

Dan comes across as an intelligent young man with great aspirations. He also has interests outside of school, saying he enjoys seeing movies with friends, swimming, and running.

Dan’s other friends also speak highly of him and admire his work ethic, quirkiness, humor, kindness and trustworthiness.

“I would describe Dan as a very smart, levelheaded guy who I could strongly rely on for anything,” said Evelyn Sokolowski, Dan’s best friend since childhood. “He always has the best judgment, especially when I need his advice, and I could really rely on him for anything.”

Throughout his July week at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists at Stony Brook University, Dan said he would like to gain broadcasting skills, learning about producing video footage and its processes. Dan said he hopes to have a positive experience there by engaging in journalistic lessons that will help him create outstanding final products.

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