Lee Giat and two of his Cypress Bay High School classmates took part in the US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange’s (SEE) 30-second Video Contest announced at the Student Television Network (STN) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, and won. Their reward consisted of being selected as the US anchors of the joint US-Russia Youth TV Bridge project, implemented by SEE, and traveling from Weston, Florida to Cheboksary, Russia to be the first American students to attend the Volga Encounters Youth Media Festival. Here is Lee’s personal story on how this trip launched his career.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It’s a question every student seems to encounter. As a second-year college student, that answer has shifted constantly since high school. I began making videos when I was seven years old. I made short films with my neighborhood friends using my mom’s camera and Windows Movie Maker, and overall, I entered the beginning of a long learning experience.

That was until 2012, when I joined Cypress Bay High School’s TV Production program. I began to learn that video production as a whole, not just filmmaking, was a platform. Whether it’s used to tell a story, to convey a message, or to just showcase some creativity, it enables billions of people around the world the opportunity to express anything they want. I began to explore this platform by learning and applying my skills in video journalism, live broadcasting, radio production, and much more. Through competing both locally and nationally, I was able to showcase and test my knowledge and prior experience.

Then came the time for my very last national competition toward the end of my senior year. The Student Television Network convention in Atlanta, Georgia. I saw an advertisement in the convention’s magazine about a video contest, with the prize being trip to the Volga Encounters youth media festival in Russia. I told my classmates, Ricky and Daniel, that we should enter together.  Read the rest of Lee's article.