Dawson County High School junior Miranda Abe recently returned from an exclusive CNN program that teaches students about media skills and journalistic professions.
Abe, the academics editor for the high school yearbook, was one of 75 students statewide to be invited to the seventh annual "Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience."
Based in Atlanta, the week-long program focused on engaging students in a series of training sessions and discussions focused on the mass media industry.
Abe said she was also able to network with actual journalists, anchors and executives.
"The program was an inspiration to keep plugging in to journalism," she said.
Abe said her dream job is to write for an international travel magazine since she is interested in anthropology and world affairs. She said the CNN experience affirmed her dream.
"They said you have to follow your passion, and the people there know because they did follow their passion and got where they wanted to be," she said.
And Abe knows about being passionate. At the high school, she is involved with the Juniorettes, LEAD, Student Government Association, National Honor Society, BETA Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Spanish National Honors Society and various other organizations.
She has also run cross-country for the past two years at the high school.
Abe said one of the most valuable lessons she's learned has been "that you got to love your subject so others can connect to it."
In addition to the discussions and trainings, Abe was also able to tour the CNN broadcasting studio and work in a student team to develop story ideas based on the day's topics.
The week concluded with the teams presenting their ideas before a panel of judges comprised of CNN and TBS executives. Abe's team won third place.
"It was a real honor to be picked and chosen out of all the wonderful students and groups. My group was very enthusiastic and worked really hard," she said.
Abe also participated in two other camps this summer: The Carolina Journalism Institute's five-day high school journalism summer camp and the three-day Georgia HOBY Seminar focusing on youth leadership, which she applied for through the Dawson County Woman's Club.