Our Islands, Our Future

This past summer, three Maui High School students, Jazmyne Viloria, Cailyn Omuro, and Faith Soliven were chosen from over 100 applicants to attend a week-long immersive, real-world journalism experience with the PBS NewsHour in Washington DC. They were among youth journalists from 14 states who attended the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ (SRL) fifth annual Academy.

“It was an amazing experience in broadcasting,” said SRL mentor, chaperone and previous teacher of the girls, Jennifer Suzuki, Maui Waena STEMworks™ advisor. “The students worked alongside journalism educators and public media mentors to produce original youth-driven digital content while honing their journalism and production skills through a series of specialized workshops.”

In partnership with the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the stories produced by the SRL group were showcased at a special screening at the Newseum. “These students learn how to create, collaborate and find their voice by producing, writing, and editing a story in a matter of days,” said Elis Estrada, director of SRL. “Their worlds open up when they arrive in DC and by the end of the academy, they realize that they’ve found other teenagers who are passionate about video storytelling, as well as the motivation to teach what they learned to their peers in the new school year.”

Viloria from Maui High reflected, “Storytelling gives me more than just a creative outlet. Capturing the moments and creating the story gives me a new passion, perspective, and peregrination. Youth media is the answer to showing the world what us kids are capable of.”

Soliven added, “I get a rewarding feeling when I can give someone a voice by sharing their story. To create change in our communities and in the world, I am inspired to dive deep into both sides of sources to find truth with integrity. It is important that a voice is given to our youth.”

Omuro agreed, “I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so much through storytelling. By helping the next generation get into media we are creating the future in a way that can help everyone. Youth media can change the world!”

The girls worked in groups with students from across the nation to create stories on youth in DC. They are learning how to fill a critical gap, providing coverage and insights on issues affecting their generation.

Jennifer Suzuki, PBS SRL chaperone, teacher and mentor, Maui Waena Intermediate School STEMworks™ advisor