From the high school radio station to the main stage

 With nearly two years of broadcasting experience under her belt, Poole served as one of the inaugural Levitt Shell Next Generation apprentices, a program under the Memphis Music Initiative umbrella.
 
Since her sophomore year, Ridgeway High School senior Nakia Poole has worked for 88.5 FM, the "Voice of SCS".
 
Students at Shelby County Schools' radio and television station, also known as C19TV, learn about broadcasting, radio and TV production, podcasts and audio engineering.

Poole was one a handful of students to apply that experience in the inaugural class of Levitt Shell Next Generation apprentices, a program under the Memphis Music Initiative umbrella. 

A highlight of her career at the "Voice of SCS" includes covering the Southern Heritage Classic on-site. After her internship, Poole can add helping Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings take the stage to that list. 
 
"Working and also being a student at 88.5 has opened so many doors to opportunities and knowledge I thought would come later in life,” Poole said. "I was able take some knowledge I had on working with audio soundboards and it helped majorly."
 
Over the summer, MMIWorks student interns were paid to work and learn at various music and arts organizations across Memphis. 

At the Levitt Shell, the 12 students worked around the venue’s outdoor performance schedule. The apprentices were chosen from 75 students who applied.
 
During the venue’s 50 Free Concerts Series, students assisted six music professionals in the fields of light and sound engineering, video production, radio broadcasting and event production on site.
 
Students worked six-hour shifts four days a week from June to July, a hefty schedule for high school juniors and seniors. 
 
Poole worked on the sound team, helped to set up and break down the stage and ran the lights. Her broadcasting experience provided familiarity to her summer gig, she said. 
 
The fact that there was one other student from the same high school, but a year younger, helped acclimate Poole to her new environment.
 
Brittney Bullock, MMI youth program manager said that Poole was a model student, highly intelligent and willing to take on a leadership role.
 
“She’s one of those stand out students, super interested in learning and super willing to expand her horizons," Bullock said.
 
Poole’s favorite concert was a ticketed one, as opposed to the free concerts that make up the vast majority of the schedule. The few paid concerts serve as fundraisers for the Shell.
 
She said she enjoyed watching Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings because of their high energy. The band even brought people on stage, but a thunderstorm ended up cutting the lively performance short.
 
From the apprenticeship, Poole said that she was exposed to all sorts of personality types and people from different backgrounds, which led to the realization that not everyone would share her same feelings and views.
 
Poole said she was very grateful for the experience of internship: “I would do MMIWorks over again.”
 
Now back at 88.5, Poole, along with her best friend and her teacher, recently covered the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Awards. She had the opportunity to meet the 2016 honorees.

After high school graduation, Poole said she wants to definitely attend college and major in journalism and mass communication, something that she is now better prepared for.

“I would be going into college with a knowledge that I know some won't have and it makes me a little closer to my future dream job and plans,” she said.

This article is made possible through a partnership with the Memphis Music Initiative. 

Read more articles by Elle Perry.

A native of Memphis, Elle Perry serves as coordinator of the Teen Appeal, the Scripps Howard city-wide high school newspaper program. 
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