4 Dominion Students Win National Media Award

Four Dominion High School students have been honored for the best video feature package of the year by Quill and Scroll, an honorary society for high school journalists.

Nicole Calderon, Yeishaliz Cancel Ortiz, Allison Ferguson and Kelsey Golden produced the piece, “No Labels Attached: LatinX- ‘We Came Here for a Better Life,’” which was produced for PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. It was part of their coursework and work with DHS Press, the student news organization at Dominion

“As our first video project, I didn’t expect anything to happen of it. Of course, I was thrilled with how it turned out. My group and I worked really hard on the piece together, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls,” said Ferguson, a sophomore.

The piece centers around two students at Dominion, Sarai and Cesar, and examines the stereotypes about being an English-language learner student. Ferguson said those two deserve the real recognition.

“Without them, this piece never would have taken off, and I’m so proud of them for sharing their stories and opening up about their place in the world,” Ferguson said. “We put the piece together, but they shared their stories, and that is the biggest reward.”

Calderon, also a sophomore, said the group hit many stumbling blocks while trying to make the video.

“We would always face problems when trying to shoot b-rolls or interviews,” Calderon said. “Because most things didn’t go as planned, we felt discouraged with our progress and final video. Being able to win in a contest like this makes those problems we faced worth it.”

Journalism teacher and DHS Press sponsor Mitch Schwartz said the award is an “incredible accomplishment.”

“Considering that the four students who produced it were working on their first full piece, this is even more amazing,” Schwartz said. “They worked so hard to complete this, never letting obstacles they faced get in their way of seeing it through. I am so proud of them. It just shows the power of the youth voice and their ability to tell important, impactful stories.”

Students from five countries submitted 2,439 entries to Quill and Scroll’s annual contest in 30 categories, and judges chose 277 winning entries, or “National Winners.” The Dominion group won first place in the video feature package category.

The Dominion students’ feature was recorded in the fall of 2019 and was posted on Jan. 13, 2020. Dominion has been working with PBS Student Reporting Labs since 2017. Their piece, Tiny Coders, aired on NewsHour on April 10, 2018.

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