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Students participate in CNN experience

Heritage High School senior Temi Faminu, left, and Alcovy High School junior Mia Williams recently participated in Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience. They were two of the 75 Georgia high school students selected for the program.

Heritage High School senior Temi Faminu, left, and Alcovy High School junior Mia Williams recently participated in Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience. They were two of the 75 Georgia high school students selected for the program.

ATLANTA -- Two area students recently spent some time experiencing CNN.

Alcovy High School junior Mia Williams and Heritage High School senior Temi Faminu recently attended Leadership Unplugged: A CNN Experience, which was held at CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

They were two of the 75 Georgia high school students chosen for the eighth annual program.

"(It) is an amazing opportunity for these students to learn about the media industry," said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services. "My CNN colleagues and I are excited to offer these remarkable young people a platform to further develop their personal leadership skills, as well as learn more about some of the challenges facing media professionals every day."

For a week this summer, students participated in classes, workshops and special events. They also toured CNN and met with CNN executives, producers and television anchors for Headline News and other station representatives.

Students also worked in teams for a project that they displayed to a panel of judges, who were CNN and TBS executives.

Williams and Faminu worked in the same team, studying homeland security with other students. They focused on government scandals and leaks to look more in depth into issues in the military, immigration and other topics.

"It's a great program," Williams said, adding that she got to meet with a CNN legal worker, which interests her since she wants to study criminal or entertainment law.

Faminu was following in the footsteps of her two older brothers, who also have been in the program.

"I really love the experience," she said, adding that her favorite part was dining with CNN executives and getting to ask them questions one-on-one.

She said the program encouraged her to merge her love for the medical field and journalism -- she said one day she might like to be a medical television host like Sanjay Gupta.

"The week opened my eyes to new ideas -- people seem so passionate about (the network) and the joy you get from reporting the news and sharing it with the world," she said. "I'm very grateful."

During the program, students learned about diversity, ethics in media and show production.

"The media literacy skills students learn, combined with their exposure to CNN executives and media professionals, give them a unique opportunity to experience journalism and the business of media at the headquarters of the world's news leader," said Donna Krache, executive producer of CNN Student News. "Leadership Unplugged provides students with the skills they need in order to be savvy news consumers."