Charles was working as the associate program producer on Zee TV, India when he got an opportunity to come and learn more about media production. Photo credit: Hritika Jimmy

In the last six months, Charles Puthukara Thomas has had two significant victories that have proved to him that his decision to attend Algonquin’s broadcasting-television program was a good one.

In June, he won the International House Prize, which is awarded to students who study on a student visa and are nominated by their professors.

Then, in October, Thomas moved to Toronto after getting his dream job at CBC as a radio and television assistant. He is the fourth graduate from the program who has secured at job there in the last three years.

His professors were really pleased with him during his time at school. David Grigg, a professor of remote field production, nominated Thomas for the award in April 2020.

The International House Prize is awarded amongst many other awards annually across the three campuses. It came with the prize money $500.

“Winning the cross-college award was a great moment,” Thomas said. “I made a lot of friends at the program. The award is worth so much more than the prize money, it helped me gain recognition. It’s like a permanent mark of achievement.”

For Thomas, receiving the award allowed him to demonstrate his talent and hard work on his resume.

After a memorable internship at CBC, for both Thomas and his employers, he was invited to work full-time for the company as a radio and television assistant.

Once he secured the job he called his professors to let them know about it.

“Charles’ smile always stood out,” said Matthew McCooeye, a professor of studio production who is also the program coordinator. “From his first day in the program, he faced each day and assignment with good humour, a pleasant demeanour and hard work. To be successful in the television field, you need to have a great attitude every day. Charles has those qualities.”

McCooeye also helps students find internships in the final year of the program. Thomas secured an internship at CBC towards the end of October 2019.

“Every day at CBC was a new learning experience for me,” said Thomas while talking about his internship days in Toronto. “One day while recording a single camera shoot for the news, the camera operator got sick. There was no one else on the floor other than the host, camera operator, and me. I jumped behind the camera – that was a great moment.”

The department head of camera appreciated Thomas after this incident for saving the day and keeping the show running. This was his most memorable day at CBC.

Thomas came to Canada from Kerala, India in September 2018 and didn’t know anyone. “Now everyone in my class is a friend,” he said. “Media production is a team game. So having good teammates is important.”

Teri Loretto, professor of screen-based storytelling, said that Thomas already had a strong sense of how everything went with media production and used to help his classmates. “Students who can mentor others without prejudice are always winners in my books,” she said. “We all have different skill sets and Charles was not worried about sharing his.”

“He embodied the saying attributed to Gandhi,” she said. “‘A thousand candles can be lighted from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.'”