Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Alizah Qadri
Everyday, 18-year-old Anne Banks wakes up with a positive attitude to take one step forward toward her dream job as a journalist despite the odds of her health and family. She pushes forward and doesn’t let others come in the way of her dream.
When Banks was born, she was a premature baby due to the fact that her “mom was sick when she was pregnant.”
As a result, she had a heart condition and open heart surgery was done on her. Even after the surgery, her family is still deeply concerned for her and her health.
When she was in middle school, Banks was bullied several times both from online and physical bullying.
“It was a bad time of my life and I feel…those four years were not the easiest,” said Banks.
The bullying took such a charge on Banks that it took a toll on how she thought about herself as well.
As a source of distraction, she used writing to aid in her anxiety and participated in volunteer work when she started high school. One of the places she volunteered at is the local therapeutic equine center in her town. Even with her heart condition, she participated in her school’s soccer team as well.
Slowly, but surely, the young girl decided that she would take action and stop herself from suffering even more. With writing as her gift, she joined journalism her freshman year and started publishing her work on the paper.
She comes from a town called Darien, a suburb that is right outside of Chicago. Though it is not very well known.
“It is nice. We call it ‘a nice place to live’…everything is super convenient,” Banks said; however, she has lived in Darien her whole life and could not see herself anywhere else easily.
Although Banks lives in a not so popular known town, her work and success is greatly seen. She is successful in being accepted into the Illinois Press Foundation/ Eastern Illinois University Summer camp as well as the Washington Media and Journalism Conference, which she will be attending early July this year.
Her dedication to commit and achieve what she does on a day to day basis continually helps her not only be a better student but also a better journalist.
Tim Banks, father of Banks, supports banks’ dream career as a journalist and wants her to pursue it to become successful.
“I am very pleased with what she does…I think [journalism is] something she is very passionate about. I definitely encourage her to go in Journalism,” he said.
Though Bank’s father may think that journalism is the best job out there for Banks, Paula Banks, Banks’ mother, thinks otherwise.
“I think [journalism is] something she’s really good at but… I wanted her to keep an open mind so she can get a job,” she said.
For the young girl, challenges like these are something she faces often.
Now, Banks has made a significant change in her thoughts about herself and now thinks in a very positive way. And although she may not have support from both her parents about her career goals, with her strong and positive attitude, she is going to stick with with her decision to be a journalist no matter what comes in the way.