Unis Middle School
Ankur Dholakia and Frank Witsil, co-chairmen of the 2011 Asian American Journalists Association convention prepared a conference with journalists who associate with AAJA. There were many speakers and awards, but the highlight of the night was the special presentation. Three seventh grade Unis Middle School students, Nour Eidy, Jamila Nasser, and Hassan Hammoud represented The Living Textbook project. Also, Bill Kubota, freelance documentary producer, had the premier for a video that highlighted the program.
As middle school students, we were introduced to many new people from all around who work on an abundance of projects.
Everyone knows it’s not a reception unless there are speakers. At the AAJA reception, there were many. Hassan Hammoud, one of the young journalists, said, “At the beginning of the night, I was very nervous. My hands were sweating, my head was spinning but, when I noticed all the support the other journalist were giving us. I started to feel a lot better. I started to feel like I belong here.” The junior high journalists also introduced a video that showed what they have been working on through the previous months.
Local people and journalists from all around the state and country raised their glasses and cheered for everyone that spoke on behalf of the project.
Frank Witsil, web producer at the Detroit Free Press, and the co-chairman of the AAJA convention, is a part of the group that made that night possible. “I was very pleased on how the night went,” he said. Witsil said he loved the presentation that thee Unis Middle School students pulled off.
The night was a blast and it’s not a board reception unless there are awards given out to the people who are honored and recognized by the Michigan chapter of AAJA. Erin Chan Ding received the President;s Award for helping to start the Michigan chapter. Also, Osama Siblani won an award for leadership and diversity.
Ankur Dholakia, multi-media producer, The Detroit News, and co-chairman of the convention, which will be Aug. kept the program moving along. After all the speeches and awards, the journalists had the opportunity to mingle and interact with one another with beverages in their hands. Also, delicious food was prepared for the journalist enjoyment.
The AAJA conference was a different experience and that’s what made it so fun and very inspiring. The three young journalists had the opportunity not only to speak on the behalf of Ms.Kincaid’s 7th grade Unis Middle School class but, also met journalists that maybe one day they will work with at a big time newspaper, project, or blog.
Ms. Kincaid’s class has achieved so much already and we continue to reach for the stars until the stars reach us.
(Thanks to AAJA and the McCormick and Ford Foundations for letting us live the dream of being junior high journalists.)