DeKalb Early College Academy student wins competition

Podcasts. Web design. Live action. Animation. Photography. Interactive stills.

These are all classifications of ‘new media,’ which provide the building blocks of modern entertainment, business, and government. In other words, they provide a foundation for the industries of tomorrow.

Students from DeKalb County School District (DCSD) recently proved they produce such media at the highest level by earning state level recognition.

Nine students from three schools—Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology, DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA), and DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment (DATE)—participated in the 2018 Georgia Student Media Festival on May 11, 2018.

The Georgia Student Media Festival celebrates outstanding student-produced media projects by hosting a school, district and state level competitions. Each year, thousands of students craft websites, podcasts, animations, and more before submitting them for judging. Entries are judged for their excellence in production, writing, creativity, lighting, and overall impact, earning such distinctions as ‘merit,’ ‘superior’ and ‘Best in Show’.

This year, DECA student Sheri Akinniyi won both a ‘superior’ rating and ‘Best in Show.’ Her website, The Albany Movement: March Toward Racial Unification, received a perfect score of 100 out of 100.

Akinniyi received a note from event organizer Karen Minton following the competition, as well as a $50 Amazon gift card. The note came straight from one of the event staff members.

“Every element I looked at was remarkable, including the amount of resources, the mixed media presentation, the organization of the website, the citations and annotations, and the personal interest in the project that was demonstrated in the planning document and personal interviews,” the note reads. “I don’t know what else is out there, but it’s hard for me to imagine a project significantly more thorough, detailed, and well planned and produced.”

Akinniyi was joined by DECA classmates Jasmine Martin and Moontashir Siam, who earned ‘superior’ and ‘merit’ distinctions, respectively. Martin’s Interactive Stills project, Graffiti: The All-American Art Form received a score of 99; Siam’s Live Action project, The Failed Compromise During the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, was scored 92 by judges.

Every year, DECA teacher-librarian, Anja Tigges enters her DECA students’ National History Day Projects into the Georgia Student Media Festival. The projects for the 2017-2018 school year were headed by former social-studies professor and current professional development facilitator, Jason Butler.

DATE student Aman Michael earned a ‘superior’ rating for his podcast, Bud Not Buddy. The project scored 97 out of 100.

Barack H. Obama Magnet students Marcus Sistrunk, Zion Griffin, Kobe Stokes, Kennedi Johnson and Aziyah Washington received scores ranging from 92 to 96, earning various ‘superior’ and ‘merit’ ratings in the Podcast and Sequential Stills categories. The students’ projects bore such titles as Expectations from Obama Scholars, Obama Scholars, Whose Boo is Whose, Water Cycle and Gymnastics.