The Journeys of NCSMI Students

From Far and Wide? 

This is my first year attending the North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute, and unfortunately it will be my last, as I am a rising senior. However I have loved every bit of it! I am the only participate from my school, making me a member of the Academy program. I attend Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer, NC. Coming from a very small, rural area (literally a village), not many people know where I am from. Therefore, I was inspired to find out other students’ journeys and backgrounds. Where are they from? How far did they have to travel? Four hours or forty-minutes? Needless to say, the  consensus was that the majority of NCSMI attendees were from the Charlotte area. (see map below)


However, there were a few individuals coming from different areas, all with unique stories!


Meet my roommate, Tierney Kellish!

Tierney is a rising sophomore at Rock Canyon High School. She made the three and a half hour plane ride from Littleton, Colorado to attend NCSMI. She is also a first-year, Academy student. Prior to her flight, she made a forty-five minute drive with her mother to the Denver Airport. She also had to make the twenty-five minute trek from Raleigh to UNC’s campus upon landing. I asked Tierney about her long journey and she said the flight was a “good one” and that she “watched Netflix the whole time.” Tierney also told me, “it was really cool when we landed because it was an entire different atmosphere with more trees and water than in Colorado with all the mountains!”



Here is Danielle Young’s journey!

Danielle traveled from Carmel Christian High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and one other student, along with their advisor, drove two and a half hours to partake in this year’s journalism program for the first time. Danielle said the drive wasn’t too bad because “I napped the whole time and woke up right as we got into Chapel Hill and it was great!”


Meet Thomas Grubb!

Thomas drove with his father two hours from Greenville, North Carolina to join NCSMI students for the third year in a row. He is a rising junior at Arendell Parrott Academy and an avid member of his online newspaper staff. He believes the camp is fun and enables you to absorb and learn lots of material. I asked Thomas about his drive and if he had an okay travel experience. His response was quite interesting… He told me, “ I had the air conditioning on full blast when I was driving, blowing directly on both my hands. So when I got out to registration to sign my name, I couldn’t pick up the pen. It was a bit embarrassing.”


Blythe Brantley & Drew Dacey share their story!

The duo traveled an hour and forty-five minutes together from their home towns of New Bern and Goldsboro, North Carolina. They both attend Arendell Parrott Academy. While they attend the same school and are friends with Thomas, the girls chose to stay in an apartment on Franklin Street, deeming themselves commuters of NCSMI. The girls are both rising juniors, however have slightly different experience levels.

Blythe (left) – “I came last year and did Beginning News. I wanted to come again this year to try something new and because I just love UNC and love being here!”

Drew (right) – “This is my first year at NCSMI and I decided to come because I have an interest in journalism and wanted to try it out!”

I asked both the girls about their trip to the hill and they both said “it was pretty chill.”



Anna Blount with her exact journey!

Anna traveled an hour and twenty-three minutes “to be exact” from Clinton, NC. She is a first-year NCSMI participant and a rising junior at Clinton High School. She is a lone Dark Horse, as she attended with her mother, who is also her advisor. Anna aspires to be a news anchor in the future. She informed me that she was a little flustered prior to the camp, as she was making a quick turnaround from a previous camp that ended just a day before NCSMI. “I got finished with a camp at NC State University called HOBY on Sunday night. I was able to go back to my house real fast, re-pack, and get a little sleep. I’m so glad I was able to attend both camps,” Anna said.


Sam White and his trek!

Sam lives in Bethesda, Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C., and goes to Walt Whitman High School. Although around camp one can always find him riding his skateboard to and fro, he figured a car was his best bet to make the five hour journey from MD to NC. He is a rising junior, who enjoys broadcast journalism and the Chapel Hill area. Sam says, “It’s nice to be able to travel here for the camp because I get to escape the hustle and bustle I always get in the city. I’m always around shops, buildings, and lots of traffic. Here it just seems like a much more friendly environment.”



Natalie Lonabaugh and Emma Zimmerman and their travels!

Natalie (left) and Emma (right) rode a bus with four other students from their school, TC Roberson High School, three and a half hours from Asheville, North Carolina. They shared their bus with North Henderson High School (about thirty minutes down the rode), as carpooling to UNC’s campus seemed most fitting. Both Emma and Natalie are first-year campers and rising sophomores. The girls told me they passed the time on the bus by “playing heads up and listening to Dear Evan Hansen!”


We All Got Here!

The map provided above the profiles shows that many high schools represented at NCSMI reside in or near Charlotte. Providence, East Mecklenburg, and Community School of Davidson are just a few, each having between fifteen to twenty-five students attend NCSMI this year. Although the majority of the time I got these similar responses when asking students about their travels and where they were from, they still had a story to tell me. I still got to know new people. I learned that everyone, no matter if they were coming from Colorado, or Maryland, or Asheville, or one of the many “Charlottes,” had a journey to tell. After all, we are at journalism camp…we love to tell stories!





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