Teen Voice at The Teen Media Awards

By Matthew Miramontes- 12th Grade, Cornell High School


Mehrnaz Tiv eagerly stepping up to the podium to discuss her work and share some insight onto how “The Modern Antique” came to life


Teen Expression and expression as an overall statement has always been a topic in modern society. The use of teenage voices and ideas to fuel the future and allow some of the older generations to learn has always been something that I believed in, as we hold the power to change the future. Teen expression has finally reached a period where our voices and ideas can be heard around the world and the Teen Media Awards are something that helps extend that reach to somewhere once never believed to be possible.

Originally beginning as the Ralph Munn Creative Writing project, students of Allegheny County are able to submit their work for it to then be judged by professional writers and librarians. The students are able to win cash and scholarship prizes, as well as a chance to attend the honorable Teen Media Awards Ceremony, where The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh shows off your work to the rest of the world. This is an amazing opportunity for youth voice to reach the audience it deserves.


Jasiri X as he discusses the importance of Social Media, being an out-stander rather than a by-stander, and how to boost youth voice

Of course this is all possible through the hard work of the youth artists who create such amazing pieces that are displayed for others to see. Contest entries were available through July 10th, giving the artists plenty of time to perfect their piece in time for submission. The categories consisted primarily of visual arts topics, but The Teen Media Awards also extended the reach into poetry, music/songwriting, and writing original screenplays. I personally had very little idea about exactly what so many young people could do so well. The poetry and screenwriting captured the audience, while the paintings and 3-D models were able to, “wow” the crowd with the immense attention to detail.

The Teen Media Awards were not strictly a teen audience however, as Jasiri X was the keynote speaker who spoke about the impact that youth voice has. X also touched upon the grounds of how the public should be outspoken activists and be a part of knocking down the barriers of social injustice. It was a truly moving and powerful way to start a powerful presentation of youth artwork, it was the right send off into the show.

The Teen Media Awards then kicked off with The Labsy awards and the Ralph Munn Awards working simultaneously. The Labsy awards focused more on the hands-on part of the ceremony, (Film-making, 2-D print, Fashion, and Inventions) while the Ralph Munn focused more on the writing portion (Screenplay, Poetry, and Short Prose). All the categories had such great submissions and I could only imagine how hard it was to narrow it down to just two individuals.


Daedalus Brockner sports a smile as he looks offstage for a moment during his acceptance speech for his 1st Place Prized Piece “Pidgeot”

Youth Voice can be yielded as a weapon, to speak out against social injustice and to bring awareness to the wrong in the world, or it can be used to speak freely and to express oneself for the enjoyment of others.







IMG_1658Matthew Miramontes is an incoming senior. He lives in Pittsburgh and has been with Pittsburgh Youth Media for two years. Matthew is also the Chief Editor of his school newspaper, and has now started his own music website (mattsmusicmine.wordpress.com) that acts as a key of reviewing and previewing up and coming music.


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