Bryan Cereijo, an undergraduate student at Syracuse University, won the Bob Baxter Scholarship.
This past year has been very fulfilling in terms of accomplishing various goals. I began the year focusing on creating a body of work around a boxing gym in Syracuse, NY. This body of work included a documentary story, portraits, and feature photos. Most importantly, I connected with a part of the Syracuse community that I will always cherish. The images that were produced obtained various recognitions in different contests: first place as multimedia story of the year in the photo slideshow category and third place in the photo package category at the Associated Collegiate Press Awards. The story also earned fourth place in the national Hearst competition and it also recently won Award of Excellence at the College Photographer of the Year competition. A sports feature frame from this set of images also obtained bronze in CPOY. Though receiving these prestigious awards was nice, I believe that none of us go into this field to win awards. For me, it was more about learning how to complete a longer documentary piece while connecting to people and gaining their trust to document their lives.
This summer also marked year two of documenting Race Across America for 3000 Miles to a Cure. I spent seven days driving from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland to document a 4-person team that was pedaling 3000 miles to raise money for brain cancer research. This year was much more challenging because the videographer and myself had to drive, shoot, and edit all while trying to keep up with the team that did not stop. However, the reward made it all worth it – our videos and images raised another $50,000 for brain cancer research. It is completing stories like these that demonstrate the importance of our ability as visual storytellers to create change.
Lastly, this past summer I completed an internship with The Miami Herald. It was an amazing experience where I learned first-hand what it takes to make it in this field. From shooting a portrait of a CEO to shooting various sports games to documenting breaking news, daily assignment work taught me so much more about photojournalism and I am grateful for the experience. I can now say that I know how to work on deadline (never having missed one during my time at The Herald), I can write solid captions, and I have a good sense of what working at a newspaper entails. I’m very appreciative for all these experiences this past year and proud of these accomplishments.
As I get ready to graduate, I am opening as many doors as possible. I am currently applying to graduate school where I would like continue my development as a visual storyteller, this time focusing on video. By completing my master’s degree, I hope to obtain a new set of tools that will help me become a well-rounded journalist. After this, I hope to use all the skills that I have obtained through my education and combine them with my passion for cultural and documentary sports stories in the regions that I feel most connected to and the regions I have studied in South America and the Caribbean. I hope to work for organizations that will offer me the opportunities to work on these stories that I deeply care about.
Click on pictures to see stories.
It is often said that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Boxing is an art form. It’s as mental as it is physical. It requires attention to detail, it requires patience, it requires discipline, and it requires a lot of dedication. The Rays Kids boxing program at the West Athletic Center in Syracuse teaches this philosophy to young kids and trains them to become champions not only inside the ring but also in life. Since he was 8, Raimier “Lungz” Walker has been going to the West Athletic Center to learn and practice boxing. Now 12, Lungz has risen to the top echelon of youth boxing and is currently ranked as the second best boxer in the country for his age in the 75-pound weight class. He has a rigorous training schedule that has helped him reach the pinnacle of youth boxing as well as a support system in his gym and his family. Lungz trains at the gym for about two hours a day, six days a week, and continues with an extra two hours of training with his dad at home most days. This dedication has resulted in numerous local wins and a Junior Olympics title. Every year USA Boxing hosts a 15-and-under boxing tournament dubbed Silver Gloves. There, the best boxers from eight different regions in the United States fight in single elimination bouts until a champion per age group and weight class is crowned. Last year in Independence, Mo., Lungz made it to the championship match but wasn’t able to bring the belt home. This year, the return to Independence seemed as if things would be different. After breezing through his first two fights, Lungz was set for a rematch in the championship bout against the young boxer who beat him last year. It was the moment Lungz had been waiting for all year. It was what he had trained for. He knew it would be a tough fight. And he wouldn’t want it any other way.
This summer marked year two of documenting Race Across America for 3000 Miles to a Cure. I spent seven days driving from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland to document a 4-person team that was pedaling 3000 miles to raise money for brain cancer research. This year was much more challenging because the videographer and myself had to drive, shoot, and edit all while trying to keep up with the team that did not stop. However, the reward made it all worth it – our videos and images raised another $50,000 for brain cancer research. It is completing stories like these that demonstrate the importance of our ability as visual storytellers to create change.