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
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
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.