(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
More than 100 multi-media projects were on display Friday at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester as local students celebrated the projects they made for the Adobe Youth Voices program.
The program, sponsored by Adobe, works to cultivate the students' voices and gives them the tools needed to push a message in a 21st century setting.
This year, more than 900 Boston Public School students from 15 schools took part in the program that encouraged students to, using Adobe products, tackle issues important to them, such as “coming out,” quitting smoking, and healthy eating.
Now in its sixth-year the global program is helping students develop the voices and skills they can use to express their thoughts and visions.
“We found that when young people choose topics they are passionate about they take ownership,” said Patricia Cogley, senior program manager of Adobe Youth Voice. “It inspires a lot of initiative.”
With a $8 million-dollar yearly grant of administrative, technical, and program support, the program reaches nearly 750 schools in 50 countries, but Thursday the spotlight was turned on Boston’s students.
Students displayed their work and received awards for their posters, animations, and illustrations.
“With this program I was able to express my feelings through that picture,” said Eliany Castro, a sophomore at Madison High School and Cuban immigrant.
Castro’s work featured a picture of herself altered with the photo manipulation product Adobe Illustrator that expressed the new sense of freedom she felt when she moved to this country.
With bright colors, popping text, and the picture adored with a Wonder Woman style outfit, Castro said she has considered perusing a career in graphic design.
“I like it as a hobby, but it might be something I study when I go to college,” she said.
Whether it be a cartoon about a fish just being itself or bullying, each project created a voice and a message about something each student felt particularly strong about.
Jeru Berry, a junior at Madison Park also found his voice with his project “Smoking Affects Everyone” and is one of the four students who were chosen to represent BPS in the international Adobe Aspire Awards Competition.
“I want people to look at it and for people who do smoke to really be concise about who’s around because second-hand smoking is a huge issue,” Berry’s poster features the silhouette of a pregnant woman and her child surrounded by smoke. The text reads “Smoking Affects Everyone…quit the habit”.
Although the messages the student conveyed are important, the way they did it is what’s most important and what many were most excited about.
“There are times when I feel we aren’t always heard, but the Adobe Youth Voice program has given us a way to use our voice in a way we love,” said Berry, who has already interned at a graphic design firm and has an upcoming summer-internship. “I do like it. It’s something I have definitely thought about perusing.”
Yahkeemah Blair of the West Roxbury Academy, Myles Pruitt of the West Roxbury Academy, and Yishen Pan of the Boston Latin School, will also be joining Berry at the Adobe Aspire Awards ceremony, hoping to gather enough votes to claim the first place prizes.
“Every job in this country today requires technical skills, students who have those technical skills will have a leg up in this economy,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino who joined students Thursday to celebrate their success. “The digital media industry in Boston represents 116 companies and 11,000 jobs, so there are a lot of opportunities in our city”.
The school year may be closing for students, but for the four representing Boston they will be crossing their fingers hoping to be selected for one of the Adobe Aspire Awards.
Voting for the competition ends June 18 and to vote for the local students, click here.