Reminded of Park Scholar community through high-school recruiting

By Cady Lang

As a senior Park Scholar, this semester has been filled with plenty of bittersweet moments of reminiscing. My memories of the anticipation (and at times, anxiety) that I felt applying to colleges as a high school senior — including Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications and specifically the Park Scholar program — came flooding back to me as I helped recruit for the program at the National High School Journalism Convention in Boston.

With fellow senior Park Scholar John Vogan, I talked to high-school students from all walks of life — from wide-eyed freshmen who just joined their school’s yearbook staffs to more experienced seniors who produced award-winning student publications, but were looking forward to new media opportunities after graduation.

The National High School Journalism Convention is a biannual convention sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. It offers young journalists the opportunity to not only showcase their own work, but also meet industry professionals and journalism enthusiasts, as well as other students; workshops and seminars are also a part of the four-day convention.

At the Boston convention, there were more than 5,500 participants who hailed from different states across the U.S. While I made many new connections during the convention, I saw some familiar faces as well; three of the teachers honored as SPARK Media Mentors represented their schools at the conference — one of which has given us two current Park Scholars: Gabriella Sophir, ’14 and Samantha Weil, ’17 of Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri.

Many of the students who visited the Park Scholar booth at the convention were senior students who were considering Ithaca College as a potential education destination to major in communications. John and I had plenty of student media examples to share with them, from airing episodes of Newswatch 16 (ICTV’s Emmy award-winning news broadcast that John anchors once a week) to handing out copies of the Pacemaker-winning student newspaper, The Ithacan, and the student-produced magazine, Fuse.

As I talked to these high-school students about what the Park Scholar program entails, I was reminded of how much this program has helped me grow as not just a student and a communicator, but also in realizing my role in my local and global communities. Each time I listed the three components of the Park Scholarship — academic excellence, passion for media and communications, and dedication to giving back and contributing to the community — I realized how much the Park Scholarship has shaped my learning process and experience as a college student. By the end of the first day, I found myself telling the students that it was a life-changing award, which I sincerely meant. The opportunities are endless, and the community — with my fellow students, faculty, and alumni network — have shaped my college experience into something incredible and unforgettable.

One of the students who visited the booth needed no convincing; she had already applied early acceptance to the Park School and submitted her application for the Park Scholarship far before the January 15 deadline.

“This scholarship is amazing, and the school is a perfect fit,” she told me excitedly, as she inquired about the time frame for selection.

I couldn’t help but agree with her. This scholarship is amazing, and the Park School has proved to be a perfect fit for my college experience as a communications major.


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