Move over local Emmy Awards.
Christopher Columbus High School’s student-run television station, CCNN Live, hosted its first annual Media Excellence Awards in its school cafeteria Saturday night and the affair was as professional and colorful as its more established counterpart.
The big winner was NBC 6, judged best local news station of the year, while its entertainment reporter, Roxanne Vargas, also picked up a CCNN award as best entertainment reporter over Telemundo 51’s Abel Hernandez and WSVN-7’s Lynn Martinez.
WSVN also scored two victories as Weather Personality Vivian Gonzalez won her category over NBC 6’s John Morales and Univision’s Stephanie Severino. WSVN reporter Kevin Ozebek, who covers world news in the Middle East as well as local stories like the death of Trayvon Martin, toppled NBC6’s Adam Kuperstein and CBS4’s Liz Roldan in the category of best use of social media. Upon accepting his award, Ozebek shot a selfie from the stage with his smart phone.
Other winners included Laurie Jennings (WPLG Local 10) as best on-air personality. After winning, she vowed to give mentoring tips to Columbus’ journalism students. Kim Bokamper (CBS4), won best sports reporter and Jenny Padura of Univision scored best field reporter.
Winners were selected by Columbus students in April after CCNN members picked the nominees in the seven categories. The awards show doubles as a fundraiser to help support CCNN Live and send its members to local and state broadcast journalism competitions.
WSVN’s Gonzalez also hosted the three-hour event in a room that was transformed into an auditorium, complete with professional lighting, dinner and cocktails by Suzanne Michael, TelePrompTers for presenters who were paired with CCNN Live students, and a backstage green room where winners were interviewed by students from American Heritage and Ferguson high schools.
About 240 guests, including TV personalities and station executives, parents of Columbus students, and several teachers, including school President Brother Kevin Handibode, Principal Brother Michael Brady and longtime philosophy teacher Brother Eugene Trzecieski who has taught at Columbus for 45 years, longer than any other teacher.
CCNN Live is run by moderators Omar Delgado and Christina Hidalgo who helped turn founding honoree Sal Canella’s school station into a fully functional news network.