For a high school sophomore, Andrew Nicla is set for an experience that could help shape a future career. The problem is he needs to raise about $2,000 in order to do it.
Nicla, who attends Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwatukee, was selected as one of 250 high school students - National Youth Correspondents - nationwide to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference that takes place at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. The total cost of the week-long conference, July 8 to 13, is $1,885, and that is not including airfare.
Nicla has taken the fundraising into his own hands, and for the past month has been putting in eight-hour days on Saturdays and Sundays, selling bottled water, snacks and more from a cart stationed near the Arizona Grand Resort. His first two days netted $200 and in total, with some of his own money and with the help of his parents, he has raised about $950.
"I really didn't think I was going to make this much money this quickly," he said. "It was really surprising. It all just spread by word of mouth."
Nicla, 15, was nominated by teacher Patty Duncan. She nominated two Mountain Pointe students who then went online and filled out an application.
"She told us she nominated the top two most motivated and excelling students," Nicla said. "They want kids that want to do journalism. They want them to be motivated."
At the conference, Nicla says he will attend lectures and participate in workshops by the George Mason University faculty. The final event will be Nicla and his fellow National Youth Correspondents responding to questions about the future of journalism, live on C-SPAN.
"The live broadcast, I think, will be the highlight of the conference," he said. "At first, I thought I was in way over my head, getting selected to the conference. It will be an opportunity that I know will help me get it together to go forward with journalism."
As for his future, Nicla said he would like to do something in broadcast sports journalism.
He can be seen with his cart off 48th Street, near the Desert Classic, South Mountain trail entrance.
Nicla is out there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and said he has until April to collect the required funds in order to attend the conference. To follow his progress, view his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Andrew-Go-To-DC/245916992155636.
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