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SHS students chosen as Junior Journalism fellows


My name is Melissa Gubrud and I am 18 years old. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love theater and music. (I play 7 instruments - plus a few more if you include the kazoo and percussion.) As a high school senior, I am preparing to prepare to attempt to prepare for the rest of my life. It’s scary, but I’m excited.  All I can do for now is surround myself with my passions and expose myself to new experiences.

I am white. Most of my family lives in Minnesota. They are also white. I spend my Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights at a Lutheran church in Apple Valley. 100% White. Some of these family members and some of these church members voted our current president into office. I want to understand why. I was taught to that you don’t have to like everyone, but you have to love them. It is possible to love someone while feeling your views are entirely diametrically opposed.

I believe that the Crossing the Divide project is a necessity in our current cultural environment. I want to engage in respectful conversations. More importantly, I want to engage in challenging conversations.


Hello, my name is Reya Jones. I’m 17 and a senior at South High School. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. I am passionate about almost everything social justice related, but as I’ve gotten older my focus has turned to issues of LGBTQ+ and gender equality. Here at South, I am a leader of both the Gender Sexuality Alliance and Gender Equity Collective.

One thing the Gender Sexuality Alliance did last year was staff training. We designed and presented four different workshops. The target audience of our workshops were South High staff. Our objective was to educate educators on how to foster an understanding and accepting environment for their LGBTQ+ students. It was super successful and we ended up reaching over 100 staff members. I enjoyed it immensely and found it incredibly rewarding.

This inspired an idea. As an adult, I want to start up a non-profit that goes to different places of learning to train the educators on how to understand diverse students. I’m excited for the opportunity to participate in Crossing the Divide because I want gain a better understanding of how to interact with community members I am unfamiliar with and how to forge connections with people who are different from me.


My name is Lecia Mata.  I am a senior at South High School. I grew up in Minneapolis, MN all of my life. I was lucky enough to grow up with my culture. Being Native American and growing up in Minneapolis, I thought we were dominant. It wasn’t until I got older into my teens and thrown into a large diverse school that I realized how underrepresented minorities are in this country. As I’m learning more about my culture and other cultures I have found social justice issues in Minneapolis have been my main interest. From school walkouts to gatherings at the state capitol, I have enjoyed learning about my community in Minneapolis.

As time nears for me to graduate this year, I’m hoping to combine some professions. I’ve always wanted to become a veterinarian because I’ve loved animals and science as long as I can remember, even if it was just drawing a plant in kindergarten. Now being in the All Nations Program at South High, I’ve become interested in psychology/ counseling so I have a way of sharing my experience in hope of guiding other Native American students to believe they are intelligent enough to graduate, go to college, and not become just another statistic.

I’m interested in Crossing the Divide because I strongly believe in voicing every opinion to understand a concept in depth. I’m interested in researching topics such as the missing indigenous women, high gun violence rate among African Americans, or the gang violence among many minorities. Journalists always seem to be in the moment, right there, yet they don’t have to be involved in the violence (most of the time). I don’t understand how this is even possible, but I’m excited to learn how this is possible, how we can get this close to these historic moments.

My name is Christian Freed. I am a senior at South High School in Minneapolis, MN. I was born in Bloomington, MN, raised through my elementary years in Burnsville, MN, and moved to Minneapolis five years ago. I was very familiar with each area I lived in after a short time, but ended up moving shortly after finding my own comfort.

I am Native American, specifically from the Fond du Lac Ojibwe tribe. I wasn’t raised to follow the cultural traditions or beliefs of our Native blood, but I pushed myself past the white barriers I believed were put around me by my surroundings to dig deeper into the realm of what our Native people have carried for so many years. Luckily, my parents had pushed me for years to get me to attend South High School, because if I had never enrolled in the All Nations program here at South, I would have never been exposed to the enriching culture that my people believe in.

I am determined and excited to further my own journalism style, skills, topics, etc. with this project. My interests on social justice have been primarily focused on Native American issues, such as visiting the Sacred Stone Camp during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, but I am enthusiastic and open-minded to learn about more journalistic opportunities in my community.


My name is Marie Olbekson, I'm a senior from Minneapolis, Minnesota and I'm terrible at bios. I'm not great at talking about myself in a formal setting without divulging into bragging or talking about all my plights. I go to South High School and I'm the former president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance. I have no plans for after high school besides going to a college. Not sure which college yet.

I'm half-black and half-gay but I prefer using the terms mixed and bi. These two nomenclatures have kept me in a gray area my entire life. Not quite black or white, not quite gay or straight. I don't have a concrete identity to latch on to. People get mad if I call myself black or gay. So I've grown up with a feeling of not really belonging.

I couldn't belong but I need to be heard. So, I got loud. I'm one of the loudest, most talkative people you'll ever meet. I have an opinion on everything and I'm going to make sure you hear it.  I'm very passionate about advocacy and education on the topics of sexualilty, sexual assault and lgbt issues. They're topics that matter most to me and I hope to touch on them with the journalists.


Hello! My name is Athena Estime and I am Haitian American -- born in Minneapolis, Minnesota but raised Haitian. Growing up I knew everyone was different, but I was never raised to discriminate, judge, or put anyone below me. I’m a senior, graduating next spring, and I’m considering going to a country struggling with poverty to help give back, build, teach and fundraise. I am also excited to go to college.

I plan to start a business in fashion with a percent of profits going to female education. I am currently expanding my consciousness to become who I want to be.

Why I’m excited to be a student journalist with the Crossing the Divide project is for the great opportunity to experience a career that makes such a difference. I am interested in the work in Kentucky and the goal of the journalists to explore different perceptions of issues in America. I get most of my news from social sites such as youtube, snapchat, and facebook. I want to report with all mediums.

How do you get your news?

Snapchat, youtube. Daily show, ETC (on youtube), Public Radio, Stephen Colbert

What medium are you most interested in?

Photo -  Christian, Athena

Video - Marie, Lecia

Writing - Lecia, Melissa, Reya,

Audio - Marie, Melissa

Ideas for reporting:

Recent rise in Anti semitic hate crimes at the U of M

LGBTQ+ issues

Education gap

Budget discrepancies

What it means to be American



Learn more about the VOICES senior level class at South High.