Kadjata Bah is a senior at East High School — at least for the next few weeks. Like the rest of her classmates, Kadjata is counting down the days until graduation. And with good reason.
Earlier this spring, the Wisconsin Journalist Education Association named Kadjata the 2023 Youth Journalist of the Year, a title that honors Kadjata's years of work starting on Madison's east side.
“I started at Simpson Street Free Press (SSFP) as an 11-year-old. When I started, I didn’t really care for journalism, nor did I really know what it was about. I saw SSFP as an opportunity to get better at writing. But as I grew through the program, I realized that I really loved learning about the world and being able to share that information with others. I became closer to my community and the people in it — they are the reasons I love journalism.
“My first article was about the Samba Turkana, a Kenyan species of bee that was recently discovered at the time. I’m a much different writer now — I haven’t written about animals in a while — but I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned between then and now, is the importance of people in journalism. After all, people are the ones reading the stories we write, and they decide what they want to do with the information we provide. Whether I am writing about people, or the environment, or the government, I try to think about who might be reading, but also, whose voice might be overshadowed or lost in the story. My dream for my future is that I am able to create or supply the tools for my communities to build the world they want to live in, whether that is through journalism or some other avenue.”
Kadjata’ s family has been involved in Goodman programs since it was the Atwood Community Center. Both Kadjata and her brother were a part of our preschool and 4K classrooms and spent summers in our youth programs, and recently Kadjata returned to Goodman as a volunteer summer camp assistant. Of course, she also lent us her journalism skills as a volunteer journalist for ESN.
“I wanted to come back and volunteer because Goodman had done so much for my family, and I had spent so much of my childhood here. I still remember so many of the teachers and community members that played such a big part in making me who I am today.”
All of Kadjata’s hard work has paid off. Come fall, she will be heading to New Haven, New Jersey to attend Yale University.
We wish Kadjata the best of luck in her coming adventures!
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