Gwen Ifill Inspired Many, Including this Hopeful Charter School Student

Sophie Sabin, left, Gwen Ifill and Kennedy Huff meet during PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs conference in August 2014. Photo Credit: Seth Ram

Sophie Sabin, left, Gwen Ifill and Kennedy Huff meet during PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs conference in August 2014. Photo Credit: Seth Ram

The passing of veteran journalist Gwen Ifill has shocked and saddened many. She was recognized as one of the most fair and professional journalists in her field covering politics and issues surrounding Washington DC and the world on PBS Newshour. Many knew her for her kind and inspirational spirit like Philip’s Academy Charter school student Sophie Sabin. Ifill partcipated in a class learning session via a Skype interview for PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs.

Sabin's first question for Ifill: why would she take the time to give an interview to a middle school student? Ifill replied: “It’s because I once was you.”

 In April of 2014 Sabin wrote a letter to Ifill asking her to speak at commencement saying “Just as you inspired me with your words, I want my former classmates to have this same chance.”  Ifill accepted the invitation and gave the commencement address at Philip's Academy graduation ceremony. Sabin who graduated from the charter school's Student Reporting Lab program said “I wanted the students at my previous school to be able to get the same experience that I got, to be able to get the same opportunity to ask themselves: where do I want to be in 20 years? What path do I want to set for myself? What kind of people do I want to imitate? Those are the questions I started asking myself."

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