Charter School Showcases Student Films at Annual Gala

Joe Clair (right) of "The Joe Clair Morning Show" and Renee Allen (left) of the Women’s Business Report present Dayonna Braddy with an award for her mini-documentary, "The Perfect Child," during the 2017 Richard Wright Gala at the Warner Theater on June 10. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
Joe Clair (right) of "The Joe Clair Morning Show" and Renee Allen (left) of the Women’s Business Report present Dayonna Braddy with an award for her mini-documentary, "The Perfect Child," during the 2017 Richard Wright Gala at the Warner Theater on June 10. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts honored 10 powerhouses Saturday at its sixth annual Black Tie Gala.

Against the backdrop of the Warner Theatre with attendees dressed in glittering gowns and tuxedos, students showcased outstanding short films, documentaries and PSAs featuring actors, writers and producers representing the class of 2017.

“At first I had prepared remarks, but then I saw these short films, and that all changed,” said honoree John Gibson. “Seeing these films really touched something in me. Richard Wright’s got something special.”

Hosted by Joe Clair of “The Joe Clair Morning Show” and Dr. Renee Allen of Women’s Business Report, this year’s theme, “Inspiring the Next Generation,” honored seasoned professionals that are forging paths for young journalists and media arts students.

Honorees included U.S. shadow Rep. Franklin Garcia (D.C.), WHUR General Manager Jim Watkins, actress Bern Nadette Stanis, Motion Picture Association of America’s John Gibson, the Rev. Tony Lee, WHUR Director of News and Public Affairs Renee Nash, 3rd District Representative for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Ezekiel Dennison Jr., and Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes.

The Lifetime Legacy Award was presented to the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., who paid a visit to the school last month and granted an exclusive interview with Richard Wright Network News.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the evening was “The Perfect Child,” a documentary by student Dayonna Braddy chronicling her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system. Her film brought the audience to tears with its raw and honest look at the young girl’s battle. As the credits rolled, and the crowd rose to their feet, Braddy was stunned by the reaction she received.

“Thank you everybody for coming out tonight to pay attention to my documentary,” Braddy said. “I’m honored. I just want to thank everybody, because without all of you, I don’t know what I would do.”

As the audience laughed and cried in response to the students’ productions, parents, teachers, community members and administrators beamed with pride.

“I’m going to take a student with me in September to the Urban World film festival next year because the quality of what I saw on the screen is the quality of what i see with college graduates and folks who have studied filmmaking,” Gibson said.

This annual event is a fundraiser for Richard Wright Public Charter School in order to help it provide quality education for students interested in journalism and media arts. The black-tie affair aims to serves as a reminder of the unique work the school does year-round.

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