Margaret Lea

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Back to Article

Margaret Lea

Graphic by Noah Herridge

Graphic by Noah Herridge

Graphic by Noah Herridge

Lela Howard, Staff Writer

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The clock’s hands tick into place over two numbers. Every watch reads 10:45. It’s time. The red glow of the “on air” sign illuminates the carpeted stairs in D217 and casts maroon shadows over the round, ageless face of a girl. She scrambles to finish the last touches of the segments and clips they’ll be playing today on HTVS. Her hands work almost a quickly as the second hand ticking its way inevitably to the end of another broadcast. She has to keep the show running.

Her name is Maggie Lea.

She’s well acquainted with the cameras, computers, and switchboards in the video production room. It’s a familiarity that comes only with hours of experience and natural talent. This year Lea utilized that incredible talent to win the Sterling Scholar award in Skilled and Technical Sciences, a win that relied heavily on her media work in both HTVS and the Highland Rambler.

However, this expertise and this passion are very new developments for Lea.

“I really started getting into it when I got to Highland… I took intro to broadcasting and I fell in love with it, it was so much fun. I loved the technical side of it and the performing side of it,” Lea said.

This self-proclaimed love of performance and her background in theatre allowed Lea to be a successful and quick-humored live anchor on Highland’s T.V. broadcast program, HTVS.

While the award category “Skilled and Technical Sciences” can really be applied to nearly any CTE class offered at Highland, focusing on media allowed Lea to take multiple classes and expand her repertoire more than her competitors would be able to in a category like welding.

On top of more focused and intensive media training, something Lea had behind her was her adoration for the things she was creating.

“I’ve always liked looking at things from a different angle which I feel like you can display really well through filmography and photography,” Lea said.

Sarah Lea, Maggie’s mother and a math teacher at Highland, has witnessed hands on Maggie’s exploration and self discovery that accompanied her involvement with HTVS and her work as the head photographer on Highland’s newspaper, the Rambler.

“[HTVS] was sort of a happy accident because she’s always been into theatre, ever since she was young, and when she came to highland she worked in the theatre department but at the same time she was taking one of the HTVS classes… she was hooked and she absolutely loved it,” Sarah said.

Though media is a huge part of Lea’s life, she’s a much bigger person, with an equally big heart. She lights up a room simply by walking in, and she’s always thrilled to be a helping hand, or a new friend to anyone in need.

Lea has allowed this kindness to drive nearly everything she has accomplished in life and it has created a sense of sympathy in her that is essential to her work in both journalism and live anchoring. With this incredible empathy Lea is able to more effectively communicate with her subjects in both of her art forms and it makes her a highly desirable worker in the media world.

“Ever since she was a very small girl, even on the playground when she was like 3, what made Maggie Maggie was her internal drive to be compassionate, so if someone was crying on the playground she would hear it and go to that person… she just does it unselfishly and she always kind of looks for the person that needs that hand holding,” Sarah said.

It’s not hard to see that compassion when you see Maggie. Her smile and her general attitude radiate her positivity. It’s an aspect of her work ethic that will prove to be beneficial for years to come, but even more so is the dedication and hard work she puts into everything.

“Maggie is really fun to work with while also pushing for excellence. You can tell she loves what she is doing and has a great time doing it,” Jenny Hardy, Lea’s T.V. Broadcasting teacher, said.

This passion could easily lead Lea into a career. She is dedicated to her work and fascinated by each and every aspect of media, whether it be designing graphics or acting in front of the HTVS camera crew.

Lea strives for perfection in every project she works on, and enjoys them all, but one of her more prideful, perfect pieces, one that truly shows how deserving she is of a highly competitive award, is a five minute film that Lea produced and competed with in a New York City film festival earlier this year.

“The five minute short film in New York was an incredible amount of work over the summer but it’s something I love doing and [media] is interesting and new everyday, with journalism there’s always something new to create so it doesn’t really get boring. So it’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun,” Lea said.

Of course this work has paid off in the long run, allowing Lea’s creations to be published in many additions of Highland’s Rambler and several episodes of HTVS, as well as achieving wins in film competitions and the Sterling Scholar award.

However, Lea is much more than her talents. Anyone who is close to her knows that she possesses an unmatched love for puns and witty humor in general. From the classic “a man walked into a bar” jokes, all the way up to the more spitfire circumstantial puns, if you’re in need of a laugh, Lea has you covered.

Between this promising start in comedy, an equally promising career in photography and film, and potential job market openings in STEM, Lea isn’t quite sure what her future holds, but she knows that photography and digital media will be a big part of it for as long as possible.

“We think that will always be her avocation…because she absolutely loves it and adores it. it is her down time, it is her release, it is what gives her pure joy,” Sarah said.

Call it her big picture decision or simply a matter of focus but no matter what Lea chooses to become, where she decides to live, or who she grows into, that red “on air” sign will always be illuminating her path, and a camera strap will always be just a few inches away.