​Eleven Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students in the career and technical education marketing program participated in the Adobe Summit, a worldwide event for digital marketers and advertisers. This year, for the first time, organizers permitted a small group of students under 21 to attend. Four seniors from CMS traveled to Las Vegas and six others participated virtually from Charlotte.

“It makes me feel so important that Adobe cares about my generation,” said Avery Primis, a Myers Park High senior. “My age group usually is looked down upon and that is something that I strive to change every day of my life through service and being a positive influence.”

Through the partnership between CMS and Sports Media Challenge, a reputation management company and social media-consulting firm, the students created a WeRGenZ team to inform industry leaders about the power and influence their generation offers. With an estimated $44 billion in purchasing power and influence over another $600 billion, Gen Z’s presence on social media is changing the advertising and retail landscapes.

The program teaches students about the latest marketing, technology and advertising practices. Participation in the Adobe Summit was intended to teach students how to actively listen to experts and speak to them via social media and in-person, while informing them and others of their economic impact.

“Our goal is to provide top brands with a better understanding of our generation, which we believe is commonly misunderstood, in order for them to connect to us more,” said Damien Watson, Jr., a Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology senior. “I am interested in learning more about artificial intelligence and what companies have in mind for this technology.”

The three-day summit offers sessions and labs on latest strategies for building campaigns, managing advertising and gaining data insights. Participants can choose from more than 250 sessions and hands-on labs across seven tracks.

In Charlotte, students at the command center contributed to the social media conversations and watched live streams from the event. They also Facetimed with their peers at the summit to exchange information and ideas.

“I learned important things like how to properly target an audience and interact with them through social media,” said Marco Garcia, a junior at Phillip O. Berry. “I worked on many designs and posts to attract the attention of top influencers from around the country.”

Trent Couse, a junior at William A. Hough High, is the data analytics intern for the WeRGenZ team. He and the other students periodically reviewed their posts’ analytics to figure out which ones had the most reach, the number of people who see the content; impressions, the number of times the content is displayed; and engagement, the number of interactions people have with the content such as likes, comments, shares or retweets.

“Timing is important for engagement purposes,” said Trent. “So far our most successful posts have been the ones in which we have used tags and photos from the command center.”

The students who participated were:

  • Alana Jones, junior, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Ashley Dickenson, sophomore, Hopewell High
  • Avery Primis, senior, Myers Park High
  • Damien Watson, Jr., senior, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Harmoni Riggins, sophomore, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Jogle De Leon, senior, Garinger High
  • John K. Bell, junior, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Marco Garcia, junior, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Nina Merritt, eighth-grader, Piedmont IB Middle
  • Patricia Garcia, sophomore, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
  • Trent Couse, junior, William A. Hough High

To read the students’ profiles, daily event diaries or to see pictures, click here.