5th Annual Cronkite Awards Celebrate Our Ocean & Our Future

On a beautiful summer day, the Vineyard community came together to celebrate our ocean and our future. This year's Cronkite Awards are champions of the ocean: world renown oceanographer, explorer, author, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Vineyard film maker Sam Low. The new owners of Mr. Cronkite's home, Karen and David Brush hosted this year's event. 


When we bought the Cronkite house, we knew we wanted to support and carry on Walter's legacy here on the Vineyard. The Cronkite Awards, which honor people using the power of the media to build an educated and sustainable world, seemed a perfect way to do this. The work the Institute does locally, through the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative (MVYLI), continues Walter's vision of preparing our youth as future leaders in our community. 

Karen & David Brush 


CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer headlined this year's tribute. "Walter was the single most curious person I ever met," said Mr. Schieffer. "At CBS we had a phrase: 'WW'- Walter wants to know," Mr. Schieffer explained, meaning everyone quickly searched for an answer. "That's why he was such a great editor. He always thought of the questions you had forgotten to ask. Walter loved science, especially the space program. He was really ahead of his time on the environment. From a one-hour special on Earth Day to the Emmy Award winning series, Can We Save the Planet?"


Walter Cronkite IV presented the Awards on behalf of his family. An associate producer for CBS News, he is co-editor of Cronkite's War, His World War II Letters Home a collection of his grandfather's letters.

Upon receiving the Award, Sam Low said, "Hokulea Captain Nainoa Thompson and Sylvia Earle are unified in bringing attention to the oceans and to our planet and live sustainably, Our goal is to recover our ancient wisdom to bring it forward as a way of being 'Pono', living in balance with our planet."



"Walter's legacy was great journalism," said Chris Callahan, Dean of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. "Great journalism has certain characteristics: you need to be smart, ambitious, curious, analytical, passionate and mostly you want to care," he said. "We designed the school to reinforce the values of objectivity, accuracy and fairness which are more important now than ever before."





Upon receiving the Award, Dr. Earle said, "Walter Cronkite's 

presence is very much alive and well on Martha's Vineyard," she said. "It's the sweet spot in time. Today we are here with a new generation of youngsters. We've gathered knowledge these kids can access." She challenged MVYLI youth, "You do have the power that Walter Cronkite used so well to communicate to his fellow humans."



Mr. Cronkite's beloved sailboat Wyntje was brought back for the event. Thanks to the generosity of Amyand Andy Heyward, co-creators of "Inspector Gadget" who re named the boat, The Gadget.



About the Cronkite Awards

Walter Cronkite was the honorary chairperson of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute for over a decade. His wisdom and vision of preparing our youth as future leaders gave rise to the Awards Ceremony. It is in support of the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, a 501c3 non-profit education organization founded on Martha's Vineyard in 1997. 


Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a pioneering oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. A National Geographic Society Explorerin- Residence, Dr. Earle has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970 and in 2012 setting a record for solo diving in 1000 meters depth. Dr. Earle's non-profit Mission Blue was formed in response to her 2009 TED Prize wish where she urged people "to use all means at your disposal-films, expeditions, the web, new submarines-to create a campaign to ignite public suppor for a global network of marine protected areas." The Mission Blue community includes more than fifty ocean conservation groups and organizations doing important research. Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon co-directed and produced the documentary Mission Blue about her life quest.


Sam Low is an award winning Hawaiian filmmaker. The Navigators-Pathfinders of the Pacific, tells the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific. His book, Hawaiki Rising-Hokule'a, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, launched with the Hokulea's four-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. As a member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Sam sailed aboard Hokulea on three voyages. Sam's family has been summer residents on Martha's Vineyard since 1863. He is a permanent resident of the island.

It was an honor to celebrate your young people and those who support them. Our heroes: Sylvia Earle inspired our daughter Meg to be a marine biologist and Sam Low, the consummate Steward of the Seas comment about 'Pono' is my favorite dialogue with students about 'doing the right thing'. 

Jan & Pete DeLisle, Oak Bluffs & Austin, TX



Vineyard Youth Respond to Dr. Earle & 
Share Their Dreams for A Sustainable Future

"Living on an island, we all appreciate the ocean," said 17-year old Caley Bennett. "We see things a lot more clearly than people who might not live near an ocean. Oceans are very important to our island economically, and even socially," she explained. "The ocean brings everyone together." "Our Project engages everybody: locals, wash-ashores, Islandborns, tourists, so we could make our cause their cause, so that we could have a mutual understanding of how important the oceans are," said 15-year old Ava Thors.


MVYLI's Ocean Sustainability-In-Action Project
Vineyard Haven Harbor, September 20: 10 am-12 noon
In partnership with MV Regional High School's
Environmental Club, Tisbury Waterways, and Vineyard
Conservation Society and the Ocean Conservancy's
International Coastal Cleanup Initiative

For Elise Quebec, working with MVYLI youth this summer was a life-changing experience. As co-director of MVYLI's Summit, she especially enjoyed boarding the Charles W. Morgan, where her ancestor was its first Captain. An environmental sciences/marketing major at UMass Amherst, Elise is a life long seasonal resident who teaches sailing at the East Chop Yacht Club. Elise represented the Institute's youth leaders at Secretary Kerry's Our Oceans Conference where she first met Dr. Sylvia Earle.





Building Relationships &
Partnerships with Seasonal Residents

  • David Brush will mentor Lucy Norris, business major at St. Louis University, Madrid
  • Susan Crampton offered to support future physician, Taynara Goncalves to pursue colleges and scholarships.
  • Steve Barnes will serve as a mentor for MVYLI's Job Shadow Day. 
  • Bob Schieffer invited Bella El-Deiry to be an intern at CBS' Face the Nation.
  • Chris Callahan invited Shav Anderson to attend Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University.
MVYLI Youth Speakers 
Shavanae Anderson is a sophomore at Suffolk University's Communications Department. Shav received the 2012 Walter Cronkite Award. 

Isabelle El-Deiry, a sophomore at Howard University, she served on Governor Patrick's Youth Council. 

Charlotte McCarron is a freshman at Holbart, William & Smith Colleges. Dan Stanton mentored her. 

Mary Ollen is a freshman at Wellesley College who aspires to become "at least a Senator." Mary volunteered for Senator Elizabeth Warren and matched with her offices for MVYLI's Job Shadow Day. 

MVYLI's Youth Delegates: 2014-2015 
Caley Bennett, Olivia Green-Lingren, Samantha Hargy, Avery Hazell, Maisie Jarrell, Wyatt Jenkinson, Katrina Latkis, Benjamin Nadelstein, Grace Oslyn, Anna Reinthaler, Katherine Reid, Grant Santos, Oren Solomon Osnoss, Ava Thors, Tessa Whitaker; Marcelle Alves, Lucie Dougherty-Soares, Taynara Goncalves, Kristine Hopkins and Lucy Norris. 


Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative * www.mvyli.org
Stone Soup Leadership Institute * www.soup4world.com