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HarlemLive Awards Ceremony
by Christina Lee

Every year an annual awards ceremony officially completes the HarlemLive Summer
Youth Media Challenge. This summer I had the privilege of participating in themedia challenge. The Summer Youth Challenge is a competition among theteams to help decide who the staff for the coming school year will be. This year over 40 teens were split into three groups, to make teams blue, red and green. Later on we created names for each team and became officially known as Arsenal, Nou Pas Peu Moune (we are not scared of anyone) , and Vertigo. For the Media Challenge we had to earn a certain amount of points and the team that gained the most points won. We earned points by completing several different assignments and competitions ranging from collecting funds for our team to going on a scavenger hunt all over the city and of course racing to scope out stories. It was a very active summer. This summer the staff at HarlemLive learned to work as a team and put forth a team effort instead of just worrying about the assignments each one had to complete. It was a great experience where everyone bonded and learned about one another. But as all things eventually do the competition came to an end on August 18, 2004.

On August 19, 2004 the staff at HarlemLive put together the annual HarlemLive Awards Ceremony held at Reuters, in Manhattan. The people at Reuters were gracious enough to give us the space to conduct the ceremony and even donated food for the occasion. The entire staff came out in dresses and suits. They arrived anxious to find out the winners that would be announced in the various categories including Best Overall Stories, Best Overall Video and to find out the winner of the Summer Youth Media Challenge. Melvin Johnson, one of HarlemLive's alumni, opened up the ceremony with an introduction and a brief history of HarlemLive.

Following Melvin was Katrina Shakirian, another alumni, with an update on former HarlemLive staff members. Katrina also informed us that the last of HarlemLive original staff, Shem Rajoon who was also HarlemLive's webmaster, has just graduated from high school and will be attending Parsons School of Design this fall. Next Richard Carlton (HarlemLive's founder) and Gisely Colon (a HL staff member), recognized all of the adult advisors that selflessly donate their time to help us and help HarlemLive on its path to success. The adult advisors come in to give staff members direction and help with our stories and any other project we may be working on.

Following the advisor recognition portion of the ceremony, Al-Amir Jordan and Michael Homolka both Alumni who help the staff as often as possible, presented An Original Documentary about HarlemLive, where members of the staff, past and present voiced their true opinions of HarlemLive.

Then intermission arrived. Everyone gathered in the meeting area for refreshments and talked about what took place so far. After intermission we began the Talking Drum Ceremony. The Talking Drum is the symbol of HarlemLive, it represents communication and symbolizes the importance of being able to reach another person.

By then they figured everyone had waited long enough so the Awards were finally given out. Kody Emmanuel (an adult advisor) gave out the Individual Achievement Awards to the Red Team for best video. Mera Beckford and Jennifer Hyman won best stories of the summer for their separate pieces respectively on the Patriot Act and on Faith Based Funding.

The time had come to announce whom the best was and hearts were racing; you could hear them from wherever you were sitting. Alumni Melvin Johnson announced the winning team. The teams came in pretty close to one another but Vertigo took home the award for Winning Team. They deserved it.

To bring the night to a perfect end, Shem Rajoon, the last of the original
HarlemLive staff passed the torch to the new Editor In Chief, Kevin Benoit. Kevin was the team leader for Arsenal and I believe, the best person to take over HarlemLive for the upcoming year. Congrats to him and I wish him the best of luck. This brought the wonderful evening to a close but brought the upcoming year to a start.

© Copyright 2004

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