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Pinecrest students get CNN experience
Hannah Farkas and Elizabeth Strom, both rising seniors at Pinecrest Academy, recently participated in the ninth annual Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience. - photo by For the FCN

ATLANTA — Two Forsyth County high school students participated in a leadership program with CNN and Turner Broadcasting System last week.

Hannah Farkas and Elizabeth Strom, both rising seniors at Pinecrest Academy in south Forsyth, completed the ninth annual Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience, which was also organized by the Decatur-based organization 21st Century Leaders.

The program, held June 22-27 on the of campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, taught 78 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the state about media literacy, journalism and leadership.

Students in the program learned about topics such as cross-platform journalism, media ethics, social media and audience engagement.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet media executives, reporters and anchors, including HLN’s Lynn Berry, CNN’s Victor Blackwell and executive vice president Susan Grant and CNN Student News host Carl Azuz.

The networking opportunities were Strom’s favorite part.

“We were able to get our names out there and begin talking to people who could potentially be future employers,” she said.

Farkas agreed.

“I’ve really enjoyed the networking side — a mix of all of the campers you meet and the friends you make and all the business professionals that you get to hear from,” she said. “It’s been really great to get to meet all those people.”

While neither student has goals of entering the journalism field, both are interested in the broadcasting industry and believe Leadership Unplugged was a valuable experience.

“This has been a really good opportunity to be exposed to broadcasting, especially because CNN is such a huge network,” Strom said.

Since 2006, more than 700 students have participated in Leadership Unplugged.