When Normandy High School senior Eboni Boykin searched the internet last spring looking for something “cool” to do over the summer, she came upon a site that offered a summer journalism seminar. The site was Princeton University, and the seminar was an all-expense paid, 10-day experience with some of the nation’s leading journalist. Eboni applied to the program and was one of 25 students from across the country chosen to participate. Because of her experience in the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program, she is now applying to colleges in preparation of a career in print journalism.
“Prior to my participation in the Princeton program, I did not have an interest in journalism,” said Eboni, who has been named the current editor-in-chief of the Courier, Normandy High School’s student produced newspaper.
As the Courier’s editor-in-chief, Eboni is using many of the skills she learned over the summer to improve the school’s paper.
“They taught us how to write attention grabbing headlines, the proper format for writing articles and the overall do’s and don’ts of becoming a great journalist,” she said.
Classes for the intensive 10-day program are taught by reporters and editors from some of the nation’s leading media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CNN and ABC News. Students tour the Times and CNN, cover a professional sports event and news events in the Princeton area. They also conduct an investigative project, and report, write, edit and design their own newspaper, The Princeton Summer Journal. The program is also designed to give students a taste of what life is like at one of the best colleges in the country and to prepare them to apply to top schools.
Eboni, who is currently ranked third in the Class of 2012 and scored a 27 on the ACT, hopes to attend Columbia University in New York City. She says her goal is to work as a writer with Newsweek or the New York Times.
“This experience has shown me a lot. I never thought I could go to an Ivy League school, but most alumni of the Princeton Journalism Program have backgrounds similar to mine and come from schools like Normandy,” said Eboni.
Eboni encourages other Normandy students to set their sights high and not let anyone deter them from reaching their goals.
“You must stay focused and take the initiative to control your own destiny,” she said. “You have to do a lot on your own and work harder to compete with those students who have access to more and better resources.”
Since completing the program, Eboni has remained in contact with some of her fellow students as well as some of the instructors, who are assisting her in navigating the college entrance process.