Ever since I was three years old and marveled at Hollywood’s finest accepting awards like Emmys, I have known that entertaining is something I love and will always love.

I remember watching commercials or television shows numerous times until I felt comfortable enough to perform what I saw in front of anyone that would watch. Being inspired so early really influenced my decision to pursue creative activities in and out of school and fed my hunger to appear on the morning shows of my elementary, middle, and high schools.

Expressing myself creatively has always come naturally, so it was no question whether or not I wanted to participate in my high school’s critically acclaimed morning show. WhenCoyvan01 the opportunity came for me to step away from greeting my school every Wednesday and Friday morning as on­screen talent, I was eager to try my hand at producing segments with my very talented friend, Qhira Bonds. Black History Month was almost upon us and we wanted to represent not only black people, but black youth especially in a positive light that is rarely seen in today’s media. Although our video was met with some backlash over the content, the majority truly enjoyed the fact that Qhira and I provided a voice to the voiceless through a positive video. Not only did I not expect to receive such a positive response from my peers, but I did not think that a piece that I was so proud of would be recognized by such an esteemed panel.

Being a recent graduate of Alpharetta High School attending Oglethorpe University in the fall, this milestone in my life only solidifies my love for entertainment, media, and for creating content that inspires people. I have always believed in myself and my dreams, but being recognized by NATAS Southeast and speaking with people doing what I want to do professionally, was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. From being a small child mesmerized by an actor’s performance on stage and screen to spending hours watching behind the scenes segments, I felt like all of that really led up to my day and the Student Emmys. All of the nerves stemming from meeting such amazing people and the excitement of realizing that my dreams really can be achieved through hard work, made the ceremony even more memorable.

Standing at the podium accepting an award for a piece highlighting race in the Public Affairs/Community Service category was completely surreal and hard to believe and I am forever grateful.

I know that this award is only the first of many and I’m extremely ecstatic that I could get my start at the Southeastern Student Emmy Awards. I’m very thankful to my teacher, Mr. Tracy Misner, Qhira Bonds, and NATAS Southeast for being apart of such an amazing journey that I’ll hold onto forever.

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