• What do CJAM graduates say about the program?


    “Being a young black male, growing up in what is called ‘the hood” with problems in speech, hearing and sight could have been devastating. I could have given up, but I was always taught that the only limits I have are the limits I place upon myself. …My high school journalism classes kept me focused in my studies and pointed me toward college and a career. Journalism helped me increase my confidence and self-esteem. I got a chance to participate in programs at the Poynter Institute and summer journalism camps, and earned an internship at the Tampa Bay Times. All those experiences helped me learn more about the community me and made me a better photojournalist. … I now work for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, streaming their games live.”

    -          Leon Tomlinson, Class of 2013

    “What I didn't realize when I started journalism is that being involved in journalism teaches you valuable skills that you can use in whatever career path you choose to go down. Because of journalism, I've learned to always ask strategic questions when presented with an unfamiliar situation. I've learned to stay updated on what is going on around me and to be observant. I've learned how to respectfully talk to adults, and I've learned how important deadlines are. However most importantly I've learned the value, power and importance of news.”

    -          Zoe Blair-Andrews, Class of 2015

    “The Lakewood Journeys in Journalism program is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I love journalism. I love my teachers. Journalism is kind of like a family. We all work to make our paper and website better and become better journalists, just as a family works as a unit to become a better family and better individuals. When I joined the journalism program the teachers and students accepted me with open arms. It’s like for once in my life I found a reason to go to school.”

    -          Brandon Sweat, Class of 2015

    “I can say that this program has changed me for the better. I am more confident in talking to people and I have discovered a passion for photography in this program. I now have many great memories from my four years in this program.”

    -          Julie Smith-Frazer, Class of 2015

    “During my first year at Lakewood CJAM, I was still my timid, closed-shell self. I didn’t want to talk in front of people. I didn’t want to raise my hand in class to ask any questions, and I definitely didn’t want to walk up to people to interview them. As my high school career continued, my closed-shell self began to open, and I fell in love with journalism. … The life and journalism skills I learned at CJAM will help me accomplish my life-long goal of becoming a successful fashion designer and business owner.”

    -          Amber Seay, Class of 2016, Cynda Mort Scholarship winner

    “By year two (in CJAM), I was no longer afraid to go up to people for an interview. Journalism gave me the ability to learn how to communicate with other and how to question, ‘Why?’ … Journalism has helped me develop skills for any field. Thanks to journalism I now have more career option. CJAM has truly made me who I am today: more disciplined, more sociable and definitely more persistent.”

    -          Tasina Taylor, Class of 2016, Cynda Mort Scholarship winner