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Pinecrest student savors CNN experience
Emphasis on media skills, leadership
Adam Guard, a rising junior at Pinecrest Academy, recently participated in Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

A Pinecrest Academy student recently got to experience what it’s like to work in the world of news broadcasting.

Adam Guard, a rising junior at the private Catholic school in south Forsyth, was one of just a handful of students from across Georgia selected to take part in Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience.

The program was held June 24-28 at CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Now in its eighth year, Leadership Unplugged gives rising high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to take part in a series of training sessions and discussions focused on media skills.

Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services and Business Operations, said in a statement that Leadership Unplugged is “an amazing opportunity for these students to learn about the media industry.”

“My CNN colleagues and I are always excited to offer these remarkable young people a platform to further develop their professional leadership skills, as well as learn more about the challenges facing media professionals every day,” she said.

Guard and his fellow participants took part in several workshops led by CNN executives and journalists, including the CNN Student News staff.

Guard said he heard about the program through his school counselor.

“I thought it sounded like a fun experience so I decided to apply,” he said.

Some of the highlights of the week for Guard included behind-the-scenes tours of CNN, panel discussions and an “etiquette dinner,” in which the students got to have a professional meal with CNN executives and journalists.

Guard said that dinner and a “CNN platform tour” were his two favorite activities.

During that tour, Guard said, he got to “see how really CNN works.”

“We learned how many people go into just one 30-minute show,” he said. “There are so many different people there that you don’t see because you just see the on-air people. It’s way more involved than we see.”

The experience also helped Guard improve leadership abilities, he said.

“I definitely feel better about public speaking because they gave us so many opportunities to speak and to really learn about public speaking and giving presentations,” he said.

“At the end of the camp, we had to try and make a pitch to the CNN professionals so that really helped us learn more about doing research and seeing what goes into pitching a story.”

The program may lead to a career path for Guard.

“Before learning about the program, I hadn’t thought about the media business that much,” he said. “But after going through it, I think it’s definitely something that I could see myself doing.”