What are you most proud of? 2024 grads talk about what’s next after high school

It’s graduation season and seniors from the Student Reporting Labs network are starting a new chapter. We caught up with a few previous SRL academy fellows and student producers to celebrate their accomplishments, hear their SRL memories, and see what’s next for them. 

Maggie LeBeau 

Glenbard East High School | Lombard, Illinois 

Tell us about your plans once you graduate!

Next year I will be attending the University of Missouri majoring in journalism and political science. 

What will you take with you from SRL into your next chapter? 

What I’ll remember most about SRL are the video and editing skills I learned from the Academy and the amazing people I met! I’m most proud of my SRL solutions journalism piece on a mental health initiative in my community

What advice do you have for other students? 

My advice to high school students is to not be scared to put yourself out there as a storyteller and take advantage of every opportunity you can! 

Pride David

Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts | Buffalo, NY  

What’s next? After graduation, I will be attending Howard University for their Media, Film and Journalism major. I want to continue journalism projects and expand to do documentary filmmaking work!

What will you take with you from SRL into your next chapter?  I will remember the Summer Academy in Boston the most! I met so many incredible and talented people during that week, and formed some of the coolest connections I have! There’s so much I learned in that week that went beyond technical skills and it truly helped me to gain the confidence to see myself as not just an aspiring journalist, but a journalist period.

Favorite piece?  I’m most proud of the piece I made for the series Moments of Truth. Creating that story helped to strengthen not only the skills I had prior but also encouraged me to develop new ones by stepping outside of my comfort zone. I learned how to properly research a topic that is still in current development (How artificial intelligence is used in educational spaces), and how to be a good interviewer.

What wisdom do you want to share with other students?  Some advice I’d give to high school students is to make the most out of everything and take advantage of opportunities! Every day that passes is a day you can’t get back, so it’s important to try new things and take risks. 

Alice Scott 

McCallum High School | Austin, TX

What are your plans after graduation?  

I plan to major in journalism and minor in Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, I will be part of Honors Carolina and hope to write for the Daily Tarheel

What will you remember most from SRL?

I will most remember the mentorship opportunities I received from SRL youth producers at events like the Summer Broadcast Academy and South by Southwest. These experiences and the mentorship I received offered me resources in journalism that I would not have had otherwise, and I know that the skills I gained from those opportunities will contribute to my journalism experience in college.

What SRL project are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the broadcast package I produced on the experiences of being a transgender youth in Texas during the 2021 SRL Academy. This piece allowed me to tell the story of an underrepresented community in my area, and I know it connected with viewers both locally and nationally. In addition to being shown on PBS NewsHour, it was aired as part of our school district’s programming during Pride Week. Additionally, several people I know shared that they used the video with members of their families as a conversation starter on gender and sexuality. Even one of the interview subjects from the video told me that they shared the video with their grandparents to help better express their transition and preferred naming. 

What advice do you have for high school students as you wrap up this chapter? 

My advice would be to take advantage of opportunities made available to you, even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. You will never progress by doing the same thing you’ve always done. You have to take risks and accept that sometimes you won’t be perfect, but the knowledge you’ll gain from mistakes is far more valuable than the satisfaction of being perfect. 

Mahi Jariwala

Monte Vista High School | Danville, CA

What are your plans after graduation?  

I will be attending Stanford University in the fall. I am super excited to attend alongside Faiza and Ashley (from On Our Minds), both friends that I have made through SRL. 

What will you remember most from SRL?

I have learned so many skills working with SRL from learning to write succinct pitches to using professional cameras during my time at the summer academy, but my biggest takeaway from SRL has been all the friendships and bonds I have made through working with other like-minded youth. 

What SRL project are you most proud of?

Getting to interview my idol, Steph Curry, was my proudest project and the best experience of my life. He is the reason I started playing basketball and found my love for storytelling, so getting to talk to him was a dream come true. 

What advice do you have for high school students as you wrap up this chapter? 

My advice for high school students is to pursue their passions and dream big!