Tag Archives: Sharon Ahmed

Play ball

I have never been to a ball game…

Nor have I ever had the opportunity to gain private access into one of Long Island’s largest news corporations.

A day full of surreal experiences, visiting Newsday and going out to the Long Island Ducks game was truly a privilege.

Despite the fact that I was practically half-awake on the bus to Newsday and professor Zachary Dowdy had to shake me back to life, a surge of energy sparked through me once I saw the huge building with Newsday written on the side of it in big letters. Once we walked in, we learned about the amazing feats the man we are all here for today accomplished.

Robert W. Greene was winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his work on “The Heroin Trail.” Realizing the magnitude of the prodigious talent one must have in order to get such an award blew me away. As aspiring journalists, we are here to carry on his legend, and looking at his plaque on the wall at Newsday truly put things in perspective.

Moving on to the ball game: although there was only a very brief moment where I actually got to sit down and watch the game, I loved the overall

Play Ball!
The inspiring Newsday Logo reading, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Play Ball!
Visualizing the amazing Greene’s accomplishments in what I would describe to be an experience of a lifetime.

atmosphere of it. I also loved getting stared at for carrying around a six-foot tri-pod and notepad.

As the day wrapped up to an, end I realized that the Greene team had truly hit a home run that night. We got closer than ever.


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It’s been real, Greene Team


Will definitely miss the photography class
I will definitely miss the photography lessons.

Last night, Professor Wasim and I had a heart to heart. We shared our opinions on journalism and he told me all about his job. We came to an understanding of how we both have different opinions on the field and we respect each other’s differing ones. I am not going to completely rule out journalism as a profession, but I do want to explore other options.

On the way back from working in the newsroom last night, Hanna Da’Mes, Sharon Ahmed, Dan Walocha, Kelly Colligan, Reid Rubio, Kayla Aponte and I played tag as we walked to the dorms. It was a lot of fun, but I thought one of us would trip in the dark—good thing that didn’t happen!

Last day selfies  width=

The CAs were really laid back last night because they let us all hang out in the lounge an hour past our curfew. We hung out with the math kids in the lounge and they were so much fun! They left today, so we are all really going to miss them tonight.

This morning we worked on our video footage and by early afternoon my team and I were all done. I really like how it came out and the four of us worked very well together.

Lunch today was a nice change because we had pizza in a conference room. I was running out of ideas for wrap creations in the cafeteria so that took the pressure off. At lunch it hit us how we are all going to miss each other.  The Greene Team got so close in such a short period of time. I know that we will all stay in touch even when the program ends.

I am looking forward to seeing the movie tonight at the Film Festival. I think it will be a wonderful way to end the camp with all of us hanging out together.

I hope that the friendships I made this week last for a long time. I met some really amazing people and I will miss each and every one of them.

It’s been real, Greene Team!

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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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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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Wet pants and weird wakeup calls

Every single girl on the Robert Greene Institute in my room … yeah I’m popular already. Okay maybe it was because my roommate had a bunch snacks and Scattergories, but I’m pretty convinced it was just me.

Catherine Duffy was definitely not kidding when she told us our schedules would be jam-packed. On Monday morning, 15 minutes of fire truck sirens, continuous snooze-button-tapping and the smell of roasted black coffee were the wakeup calls of a lifetime. Sitting in the back row of the newsroom, however, was an advantageous choice. (Not necessarily implying that I dozed off or anything.)

Interviewing in a press conference environment with Shawn Heilbron was an interesting experience; one that I learned from in a journalistic standpoint, as well as an ethical one. Of the many great things I took out of the experience, I took his idea of “when you stop learning, you stop living.” As cliché as it might sound, this little quote, has to do a lot with what I’m here for. Having a passion for journalism, yet wondering whether it’ll pay the bills or not ceases to matter. The learning experience is worth the while and Shawn taught me that his background in communications helps him in every walk of life.

After a long day of skipping around in the grass and taking pictures lunch was a moment when things went awry. I ate my lunch and when I got up to throw out my trash I felt something dripping from my behind, and then I smelled the strawberry-banana drink that was suppose to be securely closed in my bag. Not only did my Newsday bag get completely soaked, but I had to hold my pants under the bathroom dryer for a good five minutes.

Despite it all, the Greene Team is starting to feel more like family. Zachary Dowdy wiped my sticky chair down and Wasim Ahmad advised me to leave my bag out in the sun and everything was better. Sitting around and playing games while the night was still young and sharing laughs was more than a rewarding feeling.

I Wet my Pants!
My eyeball making it in to the shot with these girls that I hope to play Scattergorries with every single night until the program ends.
Photo by: Sharon Ahmed
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A selfie with Noelia

Photography class featuring selfies

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. We worked from morning until night nonstop, but I enjoyed every moment of it.

The new director of athletics, Shawn Heilbron, paid us a visit to discuss how he will be making improvements on Stony Brook’s athletic programs. Heilbron said he is eager to get started in his new position. This was the first time that Heilbron has met with student journalists at Stony Brook in his new position.

A selfie with Noelia
A selfie with Noelia
In the afternoon, John Williams taught us how to work the cameras and showed us cool techniques to get a photo just right. Noelia Vazquez and I got a little creative and took a selfie!

It was such a pleasure working with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and Newsday assistant photo editor, John Williams. He had so much knowledge on the subject and has so many interesting experiences from years of traveling the world. Williams taught us how to take still and action shots. We had a lot of fun shooting the action shots because we got to play around. We were running, tumbling, and jumping and the photos came out very well. Williams was as enthusiastic as we were and was happy to see us get so involved with the photography.

Arm Jump Rope


Journalism Jumps

In the evening, Kelly Colligan worked with Noelia Vazquez and I on our video camera practice. We had so much fun! We asked people to do some pretty random things for us in our shots. For example, we found some guy to throw a penny into a fountain and then we had a lady read for us on a bench. Our inner-stalker side came out when we got footage of a man riding around on his bike and he had no idea we were filming him.

When I got back to the dorms at night I was disturbed by a Snapchat that my sister sent me. I have been gone for barely 24 hours and she has already moved into my room. Now I know what to expect when I go away to college!

My sister, Morgan, is currently taking over my room when I am away. She is wearing my Vineyard Vines whale hat, my white scarf, and my Coach pocketbook.
My sister, Morgan, is currently taking over my room when I am away. She is wearing my Vineyard Vines whale hat, my white scarf, and my Coach pocketbook

Bonding with all the Greene Team members has been fantastic. I can tell already that I will stay in touch with the people here for a long time to come. We are all getting along great and I have already made so many new friends, as well as become even closer with Sharon Ahmed and Alejandro Serrano from school.

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First night of an unforgettable week

The night truly began when the parents left and the never-ending slides Professor Ahmad had of auto blogs screeched to a halt. Nonetheless, pizza, the mathletes and Monsters University was a surprisingly compelling combination.

(I’m being completely sarcastic.)

The pizza was good though. Soon after the pizza, Alejandro Serrano, Madison Flotteron and Jason Reid joined me on the most miserable wait of our lives to play pool. Watching the mathletes attempting to use algorithms and geometry to get a striped ball into a hole was equivalent to watching a caveman starting the first fire.

Getting used to the idea that privacy is limited and every aspect of my life here is to be shared with others is an idea that’s quite foreign to me. However, opening my door to a room full of people I know nothing about was almost like a blank canvas. Knowing that each and every single person here has a uniform journalistic mentality, yet completely different alter egos, makes us a truly unique bunch.

I can’t wait to see what the Greene Team has to offer.

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