JMA Student Press Members Cover Obama Visit

Spotlight on Excellence     April 2013


JMA Student Press Members Cover Obama Visit

Shanice McKenzie and Jorge Aponte pose with Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd.  Photo by Kellie Wagner
Hartford Journalism & Media Academy seniors Jorge Aponte and Shanice McKenzie joined the ranks of hundreds of members of the press to cover President Barack Obama's visit to Hartford on April 8.  McKenzie, a photographer, and Aponte, a writer/reporter, gained press credentials to work alongside media professionals from the likes of CBS,  NBC, ABC, National Public Radio, the Hartford Courant and so many more. Obama spoke at the University of Hartford to show his support of passing federal gun control legislation.  He praised Connecticut's lobbyists, grass- roots organizations and the families of the Newtown shooting victims for helping to recently pass one of the toughest gun control laws in the country.
Shanice McKenzie & Jorge Aponte in the press pen waiting for President Obama to arrive.  Photo by Kellie Wagner
"I can't stand it when people say to me 'my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time.'  He was on his way to school," Obama told the crowd at UHART about the violence in city streets.
McKenzie described the experience as "amazing."
"It was very interesting it opened my eyes a little bit more about how the news really is," McKenzie said.
Jorge Aponte interviewing  Cheryl Tangen, League of Women Voters President for CT.  Photo by Shanice McKenzie
Although during the event she captured the images of Newtown families, the crowd and politicians such as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, McKenzie said the highlight of her day was taking pictures of the president.
Photo by Shanice McKenzie.
"I was surprised at how late he was," an eager McKenzie joked about Obama's being 30 minutes late to speak at the event.
Aponte said he was grateful for the experience.
"It was a very good experience.  It is not like any day a teenager could go see the president," he said.
Photo by Shanice McKenzie.
Aponte said when the president walked into the arena the crowd went wild with cheering and applause.
 "The whole pace wanted to go down."
Aponte and McKenzie were escorted by their teacher and school newspaper adviser Kellie Wagner during the visit and their story and photographs will appear in the upcoming issued of the school newspaper Teens Today.

Elizabeth Esty talks with a family from Newtown.. Photo by Shanice McKenzie.

Our JMA kids in HC photo..

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