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KUNR Youth Media reporters talk AACT, friendship, and the Presidency

Inside a room with red and black panels, one man in a pink and blue rugby shirt holds a microphone towards another with ripped jeans and a black and pink flannel.
Bob Zorn
KUNR Youth Media
James Lewis, at right, interviews Omar Vazquez at the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno, Nev. on Feb. 14, 2023.

KUNR Youth Media’s James Lewis sat down with his classmate, AACT senior Omar Vazquez, to chat about his academics, friendships, and even presidential dreams.

James Lewis: Hello, my name is James Lewis and I am a KUNR Youth Media intern. Today, I'm interviewing Omar. 

Omar Vazquez: I'm here.

Lewis: So, in your initial diary, you spend the first half discussing Mr. Zorn. How has he inspired you to pursue your interest in storytelling or journalism?

Vazquez: I say he was not only a great inspiration, but a great mentor. And I really think that he really pushed me forward and to do things. You know, he introduced me to KUNR. So, I think he just opens doors for me, mainly and especially in stories and all that.

Lewis: So, you mentioned Mr. Zorn really pushing you out of your comfort zone, especially into the area of Media Studies. Would you say he's your main inspiration for doing journalism? Or would you say it's something else? How would you build off of that?

Vazquez: I would say that it would be Mr. Zorn as my main inspiration for journalism, because if it wasn't for Mr. Zorn, I wouldn't give it a second thought, honestly. I would completely overlook journalism. I had never really thought about it before. So, I would say that he was the sole reason most likely for me being interested in journalism, at least.

Lewis: What was your primary reason for going to AACT? Before Media Studies?

Vazquez: Yes. So, funny enough, the only reason I actually signed up for AACT was to go with my friend, because my friend would have gone to Spanish Springs and me to Wooster. So, we wouldn't have had classes together. But AACT was just a place where we could meet up. And they also had a graphic design class, which I went into, initially, because I thought it would help me in the future with animation and stuff. However, when I met Mr. Zorn and I took his classes, and I took photography and video. That's when I was really hooked into it. And I'm like, ‘Woah, I think this is what I want to do.’

Lewis: It sounds like friendship, from your video essay, you referenced being a huge part for you. How would you say your friends have impacted you and who you want to become?

Vazquez: So, I say my friends are a big inspiration, but a big reason for everything that I do. And just the way that I am, I guess, I always try to consider others whenever I try to do things. However, with my personal things, and the way that I want to grow and how I see myself in the future, I have very hyper-specific goals and ways to achieve them. I mean one of my dreams for when I grow up is to be president. And I have a lot of goals and milestones set to accomplish that and very specific ones as well. I always keep my friends in mind when doing those things.

LEWIS: That's super cool. What inspired you to want to become the president of the United States?

Vazquez: Actually, apparently it's been a dream of mine since I was a little boy. My grandma mentioned recently that when I was five, I said that I wanted to become president. And I think I forgot about it or lost it until recently, in middle school, that the light to become president was reignited, you know, the fire for that. And I think one of the main reasons is that I want to do a big change. I mean, especially in the places where I live, I see a lot of struggles and a lot of things that I don't think it's fair for everyone. And in a lot of ways policies that I think that could be enforced or changed in order to make just everyone's life better. So, that would be the main reason for why I would want to pursue becoming president of the United States.

LEWIS: What three skills would you say that you have the most that inspires you to fix things, but also makes you a good candidate for the President?

Vazquez: So, I would say for sure, my three biggest and strongest goals. My first one would be communication. I would say that would be my biggest strength, communication, because I really enjoy talking to people and talking in general. But I have a tendency to, like, bring people together with my words and communication. And that would not only help me to run for president as to get all the votes and you know, to persuade the people, however, to also unite the people under one nation. That one, I am a people person, as I mentioned before, I think I work well with others. And I think I could accommodate for just anything that anyone needs. And my final reason would be because I am a hard worker, and I am determined. I think as soon as I have a goal in mind, there would be nothing that could stop it.

Reno High graduate and Swarthmore College freshman James Lewis and AACT senior Omar Vazquez are a part of KUNR Youth Media, a collaboration between KUNR and the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

KUNR Youth Media
KUNR’s Youth Media program is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District and Report for America to train the next generation of journalists and to elevate the voices of teenagers in our region.

See stories by KUNR Youth Media
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