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­­­­­­Two recent grads receive recognition

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Jul 28, 2021

Riverdale High School recent graduate Ashleigh Lucas was nominated for two Student EMMYS for her story “Coming to a Zone Near You” and the “Lady Legacy.” PHOTO PROVIDED


Two recent graduates from the Lee County School District received recognition for videos they created during their time as LeeSchools TV interns.

Grace Edmonds, a recent graduate from Island Coast High School, was awarded the 2021 Student Production Award (Student EMMY) from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Suncoast Chapter. She will now compete with students across the country in the National Student Production Awards.

Riverdale High School grad Ashleigh Lucas was nominated for two Student EMMYS for her story “Coming to a Zone Near You” and “The Lady Legacy.”

“I was so excited when my bosses texted me that I received the nomination. I couldn’t stop smiling. To be picked out of so many applicants was really exciting,” Lucas said.

Grace Edmonds, graduate from Island Coast High School, was awarded the 2021 Student Production Award (Student EMMY) for her video “Earning Their Stripes.” PHOTO PROVIDED

“The Lady Legacy,” two and a half minute video, was nominated in the Sports Story, or Segment category. It was about the Mariner High School all girls ROTC team. Lucas said the all girls team had just won the district title and was progressing towards nationals. The video, she said shared the struggles the team faced with COVID, as well as an all female team going to nationals.

“The second package I did was based on the changes in the district zones,” she said of “Coming to a Zone Near You,” which was nominated in the Public Affairs/Community Services category.

The three and a half minute video shared information about the elementary school zone changes that will take place as of 2022.

“I put together a package on the parents’ viewpoints, both advantages and disadvantages, perspectives in general and changes,” she said.

Lucas set up the interviews, conducted the interviews, filmed, edited and wrote the script for both of the videos. This was all done through her internship with the district’s Communications Department, where she worked two days a week for three hours a day.

“I worked in the district office during my senior year. I worked there my junior year. When I went in my senior year (I tried to) make some of the best packages I could. It was exciting, a little stressful. I put my all into the packages,” Lucas said.

In the fall, she will attend the University of Florida where she is going to double major in journalism and political science.

“In high school I always kind of knew I had a passion for editing and videography,” Lucas said.

When she was pushed into journalism and telling stories she realized that her ultimate goal is to become a TV reporter.

Edmonds said the recognition came as a surprise.

“I did not even know my video was submitted. All of a sudden my boss was like you were nominated for an EMMY,” she said. “I thought he entered it inside some little contest. This is serious. I’m very grateful. I am very grateful that I had a team that supported me . . . seeing me and my potential more than I saw in myself.”

Her EMMY win was for the Multimedia Journalist category for her video “Earning Their Stripes.” Edmonds said the story that won the EMMY was about an intern program, one that was close to her.

“As soon as I heard the story, I reached out to a couple of the schools,” she said. “Dunbar High School has the internship program and has a big partnership with NeoGenomics. They work in the lab and work with actual DNA. I wanted to hop on it so fast. A lot of students don’t get an opportunity to work in the field before they go to college. They get to see what they are going to be doing before picking a major.”

NeoGenomics is a Fort Myers based cancer diagnostic center. Although there were four students who received a paid internship with the Cytometry Lab, there was one who really had a lot of passion, Conner Daniels.

“She really had a lot of passion and seemed she knew what she was doing. I kind of focused on her,” Edmonds said, adding that she spoke about the other students in the video. “I narrowed it down to her and her life and what she wanted to do with her life. In her interview it tells about her experience and how everything went with the internship and how it impacted her life.”

As an intern for the Communications Production Department with the Lee County School District she was tasked with doing the interviews, filming, editing and doing her own script.

Edmond’s “Earning Their Stripes” video was two minutes in length, which she said takes a lot of handwork, time and dedication. The video took about a month to complete.

“You have to be dedicated to your work. To have a title behind my name it shows it pays off,” Edmonds said.

A love developed for her work, which she will pursue at Florida Southwestern State College in the fall before transferring to a college somewhere in Florida.

“I am going to knock out general studies, save money and stay local for two years and get my associates and I plan on transferring. I love being in front of the camera and on screen,” Edmonds said of pursing broadcast journalism. “If the Lord leads me into editing that is what I am going to do. (Being an) anchor, that is what I am going to do. I have all the skills under my belt.”

She said she will continue to grow and learn, as her internship is only the beginning of her journey.

“I am just so proud of Ashleigh and Grace,” LeeSchools TV Intern Advisor and Multimedia Communications Coordinator Jason Sill said in a prepared statement. “They are dedicated to their work and they both have very bright futures. It’s awesome to see our world-class students winning on a world-class stage. To look at the list of schools that were nominated, it makes the recognition even more special, for Lee County and public education.”

High school students are able to participate in the LeeSchools TV intern program, which provides hands-on broadcast journalism experience as they learn and implement recording, interviewing, writing and editing skills from stories researched from across the district.

Those high school students interested in broadcast journalism, or TV production can email Sill at JasonSSi@leeschools.net.