Kate Penn, a 2003 Scotia-Glenville High School graduate and currently Proctors' digital content manager, has won a 2017 Emmy Award in the category of Video Essay.
Penn, who returned to the Capital Region earlier this year, was working as a photojournalist for the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania when she produced two short videos named "A Father's Love: Ayden's Final Days." The award, which goes to a single camera operator, was announced at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday night in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
"I've always wanted to be a journalist, and growing up I always loved photography," said Penn, who left the Daily Record earlier this year after eight years and started at Proctors in May. "I wanted to do something that would have an impact. Obviously I'm very excited about the award but it's still about Ayden and anything we can do to help raise funds for research to help fight this horrible disease."
Ayden Zeigler-Kohler, a 10-year-old boy living in the York area, died in March of this year of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an incurable form of cancer. Penn produced two short videos about the boy and his father, Bill Kohler, for the newspaper's website, and also wrote a story accompanied by photographs.
"I'm still in contact with the family, and Ayden's father is continuing to do what he can to fight this terrible disease," Penn said. "The more these videos are shared, the more understanding there will be of DIPG. Hopefully, winning this award will bring more attention to it and help raise more money for reseach."
After graduating from Scotia-Glenville, Penn went to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she majored in photojournalism. After college, she interned with the Albany Times Union and the Bay City Times in Wisconsin before landing a position with the York Daily Record. She started out as a photojournalist working general assignment before taking a position as a beat writer, covering lifestyles and outdoor adventures.
Penn learned that she was nominated for the award two months ago and was unable to attend last Saturday's ceremony.
"They basically call me the storyteller because I do photos and videos and produce stories about what it is Proctors is doing," Penn said. "I do a lot with our education program and our community outreach. I tell people the story of what is going on at Proctors."