NEW YORK, NY – A special event Saturday boasted a list of celebrities and media industry professionals that you might expect to see at a Hollywood awards show; But for over 50 Truman High School Media students, the “Get Reel With Your Dreams” Workshop was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and learn from experts at the top of their game. The magical event was made possible by the Walt Disney Company.
“I was waiting all year for this,” according to Daniel Adlam, a junior who attended for the second time. The program, conceived by ABC 7 Eyewitness News anchor Sade Baderinwa, is designed to motivate and inspire young people to dream big – and make the connections needed to achieve those dreams. Students met and interacted with 17 professionals including NFL Hall-of-Famer and TV show host Michael Strahan, Eyewitness News anchor David Novarro, movie critic Sandy Kenyon, ABC News network correspondent Marci Gonzalez, and a long list of others.
The event was held at the ABC headquarters in Manhattan. Students started the day by hearing inspirational stories of how each pro got their start. Then, the panel took a round of questions from the students before breaking off into a series of nearly 20 unique and engaging workshops.
“This is something so unique and special,” said media teacher Mr. Dave Roush. “I cannot imagine any other venue where these kids are going to have this level of one-on-one access to such high-powered industry people. I’ve been in the media business for over 10 years, and it still blows my mind.”
The workshops covered a wide range of subjects including live news reporting, commercial directing, make-up and styling, acting, photography, mobile story telling and many more. At the end of the day, students shared what they learned and how they were inspired.
“Never accept the word ‘can’t,’ just accept the word when,” Adlam said. “Because you always will be able to do something you just have to wait on it to happen.” Adlam went on to say that after working with Novarro and Gonzalez, he is considering becoming a reporter. “It looks like its a great job so I think I want to go in that direction.”
“No matter what happens you should never give up on your dream,” said sophomore Taisha Santiago. “and you should always look for your passion in life.”
As part of the program, students will also compete in a 30-second public service announcement video contest. A total of $25,000 in prize money is given away to the top finishers, and the winning PSAs are played for customers riding yellow taxi cabs. In 2011, then Truman sophomores Ian Denton and Ernesto Gonzalez took home first place, and a check for $12,000. The following year, then seniors Renaldo and Shenell Campbell won 3rd place and $5,000 cash.
“Our kids have already produced most of their PSAs for this year’s contest,” Mr. Roush said. “and I have to say I’m feeling really good about what I see. They poured their souls into them, and I’m super impressed by the results.” The winners will be announced in late June.
The Get Reel With Your Dreams workshop event and PSA scholarship awards are underwritten by the The Walt Disney Company. It is open to high school students from across the tri-state area.
Here’s a full list of the professional industry insiders the students worked with:
- Sade Baderinwa – Anchor – ABC Eyewitness News
- David Novarro – Emmy-award winning journalist, anchor – ABC Eyewitness News
- Juju Chang – Emmy-award winning co-anchor – ABC News Nightline
- Sandy Kenyon – Movie critic – ABC Eyewitness News
- Michael Strahan – Former NY Giant, Co-host of “Live with Kelly and Michael”
- Gio Benitez – Network news correspondent – ABC News
- Tracey Moore – Hollywood casting director and acting coach
- Lori Neuhardt – Design Director – ABC News Digital
- Lisa Ferri – Journalist & head writer – ABC World News Tonight with David Muir
- Marci Gonzalez – Network news correspondent – ABC News
- Kristie Gonzales – Promotion and Digital Brand Manager – WABC-TV
- Caitlin Mullins – Promotions and Marketing – Disney Studios
- Clive Chang – Arts & entertainment executive and professional musician
- Rowena Husbands – Celebrity photographer
- Unique London – Professional makeup artist
- Tiffany Blount – Manager of Media Education – Manhattan Neighborhood Network