Caroline Donahue ’23 has long believed that everyone has a story to tell, they just need someone to listen. As a current Brebeuf Jesuit Freshman, she has set her sights on being the person to tell the stories of others by following her passion to be a journalist. This passion has led her to the School of the New York Times, a summer program in New York City for aspiring young writers – just like Caroline.

The program instantly grabbed Caroline’s attention and one week after submitting her application, she was accepted. This summer, Caroline will live for two weeks in the Big Apple learning from some of the greatest journalistic minds. Caroline cannot wait to begin her big city adventure and take part in a program that will have a lasting effect on her high school career, collegiate experience and, ultimately, her life’s work.

Tell us about your upcoming summer program with the New York Times.

The School of the New York Times is a summer program for mainly high school students, but with many additional programs and experiences for middle schoolers and graduating seniors. The purpose is to train the next generation of journalists with the help of professionals in the field, as well as the many interactive experiences students will get while living and studying in the city. The program is two weeks long, and students have the option to be a day student, and go home at night if they live nearby, or be a resident student (which I, obviously, will be), and stay in the Fordham University dorms, located in the Bronx borough. The program includes lectures and lessons from some of the greatest writers, photographers, and journalists in the country, as well as countless activities to help students grow and prosper in both their writing and communicating/reporting abilities.

Why were you interested in this program?

I have always believed that every single person is interesting and has a story, they are just waiting for someone to listen to them. This has led me to my interest in journalism, and my desire to learn everything I can about the world and more importantly, the people living in it. A job where I can listen to people talk about what they are passionate about, and spread that knowledge and passion to as many others as possible sounds like a dream come true. When a teacher recommended journalism to me as a possible career option, I googled workshops and programs I could attend to learn more about it, and I came across the School of the New York Times. It immediately interested me due to the prestige it seemed to have, as it was affiliated with arguably the top newspaper in the country. The prospect of being able to live and do what I love in my favorite city was also something that made me excited. At the time it seemed like too big of a leap, but after I had gained a little more experience thanks to my time on the Brebeuf Arrow, I decided to apply and ultimately got accepted into my first-choice program.

Tell us about the application process?

To my surprise, the application process was actually quite simple. To be accepted into the program, I had to write multiple essays about various topics, such as what was a challenge that you overcame, what do you hope to gain from this program, etc. I then had to submit a copy of my transcript, give a name for a recommendation letter, and an optional choice was to submit a piece of my own writing, which I did with the help of my English teacher (thanks Ms. Drier!). Less than a week later, I got an email from the board of admissions that said that I was accepted.

What are you most excited for? Most nervous about?

The thing I am both most excited for, and most nervous about, is living in the city for two weeks. As much as I love being there, I have only visited for a week max, and had the comfort of my family around me during that time. The city is a big place, and the idea of getting lost or hurt has definitely crossed my mind within these past few weeks, as well as the intimidation that this program brings. As stated earlier, this program is affiliated with one of the biggest news companies in the country, and this school attracts the best and brightest young minds. The fear that I may not live up to the expectations of students there has also been a prevalent thought lately. However, New York City has always been my favorite place that I have traveled to, with the history behind it, all the different sights, and most importantly, the thousands of different people who reside there that make the city so amazing. Ultimately, I am most hopeful for the opportunity to learn and make new connections through something that I love so much.

How do you hope this will influence your future plans/college/career?

As I said earlier, I hope that my interest in journalism will grow through this program and will continue to grow until I attend university and eventually enter the field. The program provided a live stream sometime after my acceptance for attendees and their parents to watch, and all who spoke were successful in their careers and most had some affiliation to Columbia University. Columbia has been my dream school for a while now, and being able to meet these people this early on in my high school career and forge connections that could give me an edge when I apply my senior year would be great. But even past my college admissions, I believe getting this kind of experience this early on could greatly benefit my future career, as I will have experience that others don’t as well as connections others may not have.