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Christina Tran and Chasity Mayo in DC.

Christina Tran and Chasity Mayo in DC.

Alex Kennedy

Alex Kennedy

Christina Tran and Chasity Mayo in DC.

Cassey Ivie, Web Editor

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Two Copper Hills Grizzlies flew across the nation to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference, drastically changing their lives and thoughts about journalism. Being the only two students from Utah, Chasity Mayo and Christina Tran had the opportunity to explore journalism, discover new talents, and bring it all back to make our school newspaper better. They had finished the last year as a Staff Writer and a Junior Editor, but were preparing to become a Co-Editor in Chief and the Managing Editor of the Grizzly Growl.

Beginning with an adviser recommendation, some scholarship applications, and a decent amount of saving, everything happened in a whirlwind. Before the impact of their trip had truly set in, they were boarding a plane and buckling in for take-off. By the time they landed at the Ronald Reagan Airport and found their shuttle group, they were surrounded by high school editors from across the country. A shuttle stuffed with nerves and excitement bused the students to George Mason University, about fifteen minutes outside of Washington DC.

The days of the conference were filled with workshops and guest speakers. For Chasity, the most impactful one was a role play. They were assigned a news outlet and a type of journalism. Chasity was the Washington Post, and quickly had to learn to write for their medium as well as match their bias. “The journalism world is chaotic,” Chasity said. “I realized the crunch time behind the stories.” As they continued to write their articles, they would be thrown another story and quickly have to re-prioritize what they were writing. Articles would be halfway written and then scrapped for breaking news. This left a lasting impact on what it really means to be a journalist when you take it beyond the words printed in a newspaper.

For Christina, the most impactful part of the trip was the guest speakers. April Bryan’s words remained ingrained in her head. “She told me that not everyone was cut out to be a journalist. And that stuck with me.” It showed her that she had to have a solid backbone if she was going to make it in this world. She realized she was in the middle of a political hub.

Between the workshops and guest speakers, they also got the opportunity to explore the sights around DC, and meet with Representative Mia Love. They discussed censorship in journalism and the capability each individual has. “Mia Love was the nicest lady ever,” Chasity said about the interaction.  “She wasn’t afraid to address problems,” Christina said. “She wasn’t the type to push her views, but she didn’t use her power to limit your beliefs.” Both walked away from the experience feeling empowered and motivated to create change.

A trip like this is once in a lifetime, and our school was lucky to send our own to take advantage of it. Christina said she hopes that every student gets an opportunity like this one. “It taught me to be brave,” she said, “and it was a life changing experience.”

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