Stories produced by SRL Academy Fellows highlight communities in nation’s capital

Twenty-one exceptional young journalists and video storytellers from more than a dozen different states across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. this summer to sharpen their journalism, camera and editing skills at the annual Student Reporting Labs Academy.

Paired with mentors, SRL fellows embarked on a journey to tell stories centered around individuals, businesses and communities that make up the diverse fabric of Washington, D.C. For many of them, it was their first time visiting Washington.

Here are their stories:

The Quander family

A tour guide at George Washington’s Mount Vernon who can trace his family history back to those who were enslaved at the Virginia estate offers his perspective on American history, slavery and the founding fathers.

Student producers/videographers/editors include: Nick Hinojosa of Etiwanda High School in CA, Jaycie Iha of Maui Waena Intermediate School in HI, Mary Williams of Hughes Stem High School in OH, Isaac Hernandez of Cedar Ridge High School in TX. Mentor support provided by Gina Gray of Dalton Middle School, GA and Elis Estrada of the PBS NewsHour.

Wenatchee Youth Circus

When youth circus performers from Washington State were asked to perform at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, they flipped  literally! These kids got a chance to share their unique circus talents at an international exposition of living cultural heritage on the National Mall.

Student producers/videographers/editors include: Axl Reitz Daguio of Maui High School in HI, Darius Jones of Granby High School in VA, Kimberly Castro-Rebolledo of Legacy Charter High School in SC, and Angeline Abrera of Jersey Village High School in TX. Mentor Support provided by Victor Fernandez of the PBS NewsHour, and Melissa Sherman of Hughes Stem High School in OH.

Yamrot’s dream

Yamrot Eshetu dreamed of opening an authentic Ethiopian restaurant in Washington, D.C., where for decades Ethiopian immigrants have settled following civil war in their homeland. Now, one family’s American dream has become a reality.

Student producers/videographers/editors include: Angelina Rueda of Wauwatosa West High School in WI, Stephanie Gutierrez of Las Cruces High School in NM, Becca Messner of Royal Oak High School in MI, and Christian Peebles of Legacy Charter High School in SC. Mentor support provided by Jordan Vesey of the PBS NewsHour.

Life in DC’s historic fist market

Washington, D.C. is home to the country’s oldest continuously-operating open-air fish market. Students went to capture the sites, sounds and smells of this vibrant community that has survived everything from changing demographics to city development projects.

Student producers/videographers/editors include: Brooke Kanna of Kauai High School in HI, Raymond Sipple of Cape May County Technical High School in NJ, Mary Oliver of Judge Memorial Catholic High School in UT, Abby O’Ferrall of Dalton Middle School in GA. Mentor support provided by Mike Conrad of Royal Oak High School, MI and Bill Swift of the PBS NewsHour.

Bringing fresh produce to D.C.’s food deserts

An innovative new program is addressing Washington, D.C.’s food deserts. The Arcadia Center’s Mobile Market brings fresh and healthy produce at an affordable price to communities that need it most.

Student producers/videographers/editors include: Noah Hudson-Peralta of FV Pankow High School in MI, Riana Teran of Etiwanda High School in CA, Esmerelda Soto-Rendon of Vista PEAK Preparatory in CO, Kim Leadholm of Black River Falls High School in WI. Mentor Support provided by Jennifer Suzuki of Maui Waena Intermediate High School in HI and Kristy Choi of the PBS NewsHour.