Teens making TV magic

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Each year, Student Television Network, STN, the large association of high school and middle school broadcasting, film and media programs, names a Student of the Year for the high quality of his or her work and strong STN leadership. A California teenager earned that this spring but STN also named three Student of the Year Runners-Up for 2013. Amazingly, all three are Kansas City area students and all three are this week's Fox 4 Young Achievers.

Broadcasting is very big at several metro area high schools, including Lee's Summit West, where 2013 graduate Bob Smith is assisting teacher Karrie Smythia in the annual student summer camp she directs. Known as a superb video storyteller and show producer and director, Bob also became a strong peer leader in the West High program, both in front of and behind the cameras.

"My favorite thing," says Bob, "is talking and going over stories and writing and figuring out beginning, middle and end and where things should be moved around."

His leadership and talent combined to bring Bob national acclaim this past year, honored as National Student of the Year Runner Up by Student Television Network.

"It just feels like kind of a team win," says Bob. "It's just such a blessing to know that I am recognized but that I've had such a strong support system behind me."

While Bob was working his TV magic at Lee's Summit West, in the far opposite corner of the metro area, two other outstanding high school broadcasting students were also getting camera-ready to become our TV people to watch in the future.

"Every single person has a story and it's your job to find that out," says Rachel Schisler.

Rachel and Paxton DiBlasi are the other two STN National Student of the Year Runners-Up for 2013. At Park Hill South High School, Rachel sparkled as an anchor and interviewer and crafted compelling feature stories.

"It's not so much the production," says Rachel, "it's more the people. I love getting to talk to people and do stories on them because you develop a relationship with them."

Meantime, at Park Hill High School, Paxton soared as a skilled all-around reporter and anchor.

"It's important to have an idea, have a thought and be able to get it out for the world and to get information out," says Paxton. "Depth of knowledge, as well." And Paxton had a special knack for weather reporting.

"It's very easy to ad lib on camera for me," says Paxton. "It just kind of flows."

Their STN honors are proof to all of them that they are headed in the right direction to go for their dream goals. Rachel as a national TV morning talk show host.

"It means that I can make it," says Rachel. "I feel like if I can win national awards in high school, I'm hoping that means I can do well nationally."

Bob as a major TV show producer and writer in Los Angeles.

"I love TV," says Bob. "I love everything about it. It fascinates me." And Paxton as a CNN news anchor.

"It's not a question of it's my dream," says Paxton. "It's a question of when it's going to happen. Because it will happen." And make TV magic when it does.

College is the next step on the way to making those dreams reality for all three of them.

Bob's going to Columbia College Chicago which has a very fine School of Media Arts. Rachel and Paxton both area headed for the University of Missouri-Columbia to get started in what's regarded as one of America's top broadcast journalism programs.

Fox 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 5 p.m.

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