Aliy Bossert and Kevin McMillan, 2006 graduates of Roane County High School in Spencer, are this year’s high school broadcast winners in the 38th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. In “Not Bad Kids” Bossert and McMillan profile the emotional, mental and physical tribulations of children forced to grow up in foster care.
Bossert and McMillan based part of their documentary on a report, “Already Behind,” which was produced by a state task force for the West Virginia Board of Education. The 33-page report found that nobody monitors the academic performance of foster children and prompted the state board to step up efforts to close the achievement gap for those children.
Bossert and McMillan also won a first place award from the Student Television Network for their spot news story on stereotyping.
The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, founded in 1968, honor the outstanding reporting of the lives and strife of disadvantaged people throughout the world. Known as the "Poor People's Pulitzers" within the press arena, these award recipients have brought to light issues spanning from child abuse and juvenile crime to discriminatory banking practices and prejudice against AIDS victims.
The state board invited the two students and their teacher, Janet Kerby, to its monthly meeting so it could extend its congratulations and to wish them continued success in college and their chosen careers.
“Aliy and Kevin are shining examples of the education system we have in West Virginia,” said state schools Superintendent Steve Paine. “The doors that will open to these two young people will certainly offer both of them a bright future.”
Bossert plans to attend Stanford University in California this fall, while McMillan will attend Marietta College in Ohio.
Their documentary on foster children also was the regional winner in the National Student Television Contest for the Ohio Valley Chapter, which includes West Virginia and four other states. This award is sponsored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is often called the "Student Emmys.”
“Not Bad Kids” also placed third in the Student Television Network Spring Nationals in the documentary category.