A CALL FOR CHANGE – Student Activists

The students and employees at the High School for Media and Communications, located at the George Washington Educational Campus, have a lot of problems with the elevators at the 191st 1 train station. The majority of the students have first-period class, the main reason that they are late is because of the crowd in front of the train elevators. Even though there are four elevators for straphangers to use, one or two of them are out of service which makes a delay.

Fortunately, Juan Rosa from the Catholic Charities brought up the idea to change this circumstance. This idea was proposed to Celine LeeSam, a history teacher, and students in her senior government class. They had to come up with a solution for this problem. From last year, 2017, LeeSam and her senior government class decided to do a project for the 191st train station.

According to the interview with LeeSam, she said that she saw many students being late to her class because of the elevators, and she experienced that problem too. In addition, she wanted the students to really participate in this project.

Jaylene Then, a senior at the High School for Media and Communications, started the petition on change.org. As of January 18th, 341 people have signed the petition. Since this petition is public, many people also commented by agreeing that this was an issue.

Elizabeth Stone Menerstein commented, “I regularly take public transportation. The lines at 191st street are impossible to navigate and take far too long.”

Mary Illes, a Washington Heights resident, commented, “I live in the neighborhood and the elevators need to be maintained. Open the rear doors as requested.”

On January 19th, 2018, some students walked over to the offices of local politicians. The letter was to be sent to three politicians: Marisol Alcantara who is the senator for the 31st district of the New York Senate, Ydanis Rodriguez who is the council member for the 31st district, and Joseph Lhota who is the American public servant and the chairman of the Metropolitan transportation authority.

The students and the employees at the High School for Media and Communications are really hoping to make a progress to change the elevators. They are looking forward to having an easier time on their way to school.

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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.

Bronx Berlin Connection Visits

By Ana Made, Class of 2019

On November 27th the High School for Media and Communications hosted the Bronx Berlin Connection in order to provide students with more knowledge about Germany and discuss the Goethe Institute, which sponsored the visit to the school.

English teacher Doctor Shearier, who also teaches a German elective, was instrumental in bringing the Berlin Group to the school. Olga Liamkina, an educational liaison, also played a major role in bringing the Berlin performers to the school. Liamkina works with the Goethe Institute to help enforce and spread the German culture to communities, like Washington Heights, who are not exposed to foreign customs.

Media students enjoyed the performance of the Berlin program. One student stated, “The school should do this again.” The students also liked that the performers were young adults and were “cool people to be around.”

The experience of meeting new people and the level of positive energy coming from the dancers and rappers on stage was exhilarating for Media students Emani Williams and Tenisha Terry M, who were able to perform along the dancers on stage.

One Berlin performer, Sherry, lives in Berlin but has Turkish roots. Sherry works with the Bronx Berlin program but also teaches kids how to dance as a part-time job. Sherry does social work with the program, and when asked what she liked about her visit to Media, she said, “It was nice working with the students.” Sherry offered her Instagram, [NabirheS], for students to follow and keep up with her journey.

The Goethe Institute is a cultural association operating worldwide. The Bronx Berlin program exchanges teenagers from Berlin to the Bronx so they can improve their social and language skills. These programs are crucial in having follow-up performances.

Media High School felt honored to be able to host such innovative people who gave workshops and a dynamite performance in their school.