High School Insider summer interns, left to right. TOP: Diego Andrade, Sophene Avedissian, Nathalie Cruz, Maya Henry BOTTOM: Laila Mayfield, Alexis Nunez, Jullea Powell


2023 High School Insider internship in review

Through June and July 2023, H.S. Insider at the L.A. Times hosted seven high school interns from across Los Angeles and the country.
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August 28, 2023

This summer, HS Insider hosted seven interns in partnership with the Jack and Denny Smith Memorial Fund for Literacy. Throughout their internship, these seven young journalists dug deep into stories and issues affecting their local communities. Read their final multimedia stories – as well as more about the interns – below:

Youth homelessness is on the rise. This L.A. organization aims to fight it with stability. by Diego Andrade
“Through the help of its programs, nonprofit organization Jovenes wants to help unhoused youth improve their self-esteem and motivation, while also striving for academic success in college. The organization’s ultimate goal is to provide resources for youth to build a foundation of success through schooling and a stable home life.”

Montrose’s Once Upon a Time Has Served Local Readers a Diversity of Books for 57 Years by Sophene Avedissian
“Maureen Palacios and her two daughters, Amelia and Jessica, had always been loyal customers at Once Upon a Time, a children’s bookstore in their town of Montrose, Calif. Every Saturday, Palacios and her husband took their two daughters to Once Upon a Time, where Amelia and Jessica would look through the shelves full of all types of children’s books.”

How two L.A. street artists inspire hope throughout the city through angel wings and mountain lion murals by Nathalie Cruz
“When Corie Mattie came face-to-face with a ninety-pound mountain lion in 2022, she found inspiration for her lifelong artistic journey. Mattie felt moved by the encounter and said she felt a strong spiritual connection to this wild lion. Mattie now has three murals of the mountain lion across Los Angeles.”

‘The nightmare of a lifetime’: Illicit pills bring efforts to keep teenagers alive to a critical juncture by Maya Henry
“Students, parents and educators across Los Angeles have recently found themselves on the frontlines of a fight they never wanted to be a part of: the fight to keep teenagers alive.”

The shellfish solution: South Florida nonprofit builds oyster reefs and community to combat water pollution by Laila Mayfield
“Laura Elsenboss regularly spends her mornings laboring beneath the Florida sun, filling bags full of empty oyster shells — the leftovers of what once was a seafood dinner. In a few weeks, the bagged oysters will become the foundation of an oyster reef.”

Echo Park volunteer trash pick-up club reduces pollution and beautifies neighborhood streets by Alexis Nunez
“Tourists flock to Los Angeles for the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and the freshness of Malibu beaches. But across Los Angeles, in neighborhoods including Echo Park, residential streets are littered with mountains of garbage.”

Skydivers jump for joy in Northern California farming town by Jullea Powell
From 13,000 feet above, Javed Choudhari overlooked the majestic Sierras and the Pacific Ocean. Then he jumped.”

More about the interns:
Alexis Nunez aims high to achieve her academic goals by Diego Andrade
“Alexis Nunez is a recent graduate of Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High School and will study communications at Stanford in the fall.”

She’s not afraid to speak her mind:” Maya Henry tells important stories through journalism by Sophene Avedissian
“Maya Henry, a 17-year-old senior at Girls Academic Leadership Academy, wrote her first editorial piece when she was in the seventh grade. Her school began participating in Denim Day, where individuals are encouraged to wear jeans to address a widespread misconception about sexual assault”

Where law and Adam Sandler create a future for Sophene Avedissian by Nathalie Cruz
“Sophene Avedissian is a 15-year-old high school student who aims to have a career in law. This inspiration rises from her recognition that public speaking, writing and critical thinking are all core to the legal practice.”

From DC comic books to debate, Diego Andrade is ready for a summer of hard work by Maya Henry
“Diego Andrade didn’t get into journalism because of an interest in politics, a moving article, or a love for writing. All of that, Andrade said, came later. Rather, what first sparked the rising high school senior’s interest in journalism was DC character Clark Kent’s day job working as a reporter for Metropolis’ fictional publication, The Planet.”

Jullea Powell: Adrenaline-junkie in journalism by Laila Mayfield
“Whether it’s exploring caves, reporting on-location or simply meeting someone new, 17-year-old Jullea “Jewels” Powell is constantly seeking out thrills. As an only child based in a rural community south of San Jose, Calif., Powell prides herself as an exception to the typical judgements of those without siblings.”

Laila Mayfield writes to lighten hearts and enlighten minds by Jullea Powell
“From rockin’ out at Taylor Swift’s ERAS Tour concert to her daily cereal-fueled runs, Laila Mayfield from Stuart, Fla. makes each day interesting. However, wherever life takes this Jensen Beach High School rising senior, her beacon of light is writing.”

Opinion: An Assault on Education

Opinion: An Assault on Education

Earlier last month, the Supreme Court struck down race-conscious admissions in cases against Harvard and the University of North California. Just one day later, they ruled that the Biden Administration overstepped with their plan to wipe out $400 billion in student...