Sandra Cisneros Inspires Students With Her Stories

Photographs by Brandon Nixon, Class of 2018

Sandra Cisneros, a Mexican-American writer mostly known for her book The House On Mango Street, that is filled with vignettes of fiction visited the Media family to discuss her work on The House On Mango Street. Cisneros covered a lot of topics in the event. She talked about things that inspired her to write the stories, how long it took and the advantages and disadvantages of writing her book. Cisneros opened the reading by reading one of her favorite chapters “The Family of Little Feet.” She explained that this is her favorite because one of her previous students realized how small her feet were which led her to realize that her entire family had little feet. Cisneros then went on to explain how she found her inspiration to write her book when she was a teacher, her students inspired her. She told the audience that when she was a counselor, her students used to tell her their struggles and that inspired her to write stories based on those situations.Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 5.03.35 PM.png Cisneros explained to the audience that writing The House On Mango Street took time, she needed time to figure out how to write it in which it will give justice to the stories and her students. Cisneros explained to the audience that the students she had were going through many issues such as pregnancy, gang problems, and transportation but these issues were simply overlooked because these students are Black or Hispanic. The House On Mango Street took Cisneros about twenty years to write. The event then went on to students asking Cisneros questions about her book and in general. Cisneros answered questions such as: How did you find your inspiration?, How long did it take to write the entire book and what advice she would give to future writers and artists. Cisneros even replied to questions that were about her personal life. She didn’t have an issue with being open to our students about her life and the book; she talked about her love life, kids and family life in general. As the event was ending, Elaine Baez, a Media student, presented Cisneros with a painting for her warm visit and to thank her. The event closed with 30 Media students getting their 25th edition of The House On Mango Street signed by Sandra Cisneros.

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Media’s New Television Studio

By Shanita Baker and Marieme Jiddou, Class of 2019
Photographs by Brandon Nixon, Class of 2018

Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President, funded the High School for Media and Communications (HSMC) $700,000 to build a television studio in their school. Located in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, the High School for Media and Communications has 420 students mostly from northern Manhattan and the Bronx.

Juan Villar, a principal of the HSMC, shared that the television studio will be a studio by students, for students. “This is a school that wants to give their students a voice. What will happen in the television studio will be completely up to the students,” stated Principal Villar.

Brewer’s donation of $700,000 to the HSMC will help the school live up to its name by making the school more technologically friendly. The television studio will create new courses in the school’s curriculum such as broadcast journalism, media literacy, and the development of cinematography, as well as other programs. Brewer also donated to the school’s music program in 2015.

The donation this year will also help the theater and music program where students can express themselves through music and dance as they record their music in the recording studio. This will also help the student-run newspaper, The Legacy because the studio will become a place to hold interviews and produce videos for an online news website. All of these aspects have been improved by Brewer’s donation.

The addition of a television studio in the high school will benefit all of the students at Media. “This is exciting and will be a big learning curve for the students,” said Brewer.

Students look forward to creating television shows about pop culture, sports, music, fashion, daily life, their experiences, and the realities of teenage life. The studio will benefit students by giving them the liberty of expression. In addition to benefitting students at the HSMC, the television studio will also benefit the Washington Heights community. The school plans to welcome Media parents and residents from the community to use the studio to produce shows.

“This is very exciting for all of us,” expressed Brewer.