“It made me feel so proud that we even placed because we were up against adults. It was an eye-opening experience comparing our work to all of those professionals.”
Students from Dalton Middle School's Studio D Photography Team recently competed in the North Georgia Camera Shootout, hosted at Dalton State College. Competing against more than 150 adults from all over Georgia, students had the opportunity to win prizes in five different categories: Missing, Stairs, Story, Rough and Nature.
Amanda Triplett, journalism teacher at Dalton Middle School, brought a group of students to the photography event. Triplett said, because the middle school students would be competing against adults, she did not necessarily expect them to place. However, she knew it would be a great learning experience, and an opportunity to practice their photography skills.
To her surprise, between the eight students who competed, students took home two awards, including one first place award.
"I was stoked," Triplett said, "We were beating out the college students and most of the adult photographers. I'm feeling really good about where we're going with our program right now."
Jailyn Ochoa, an eighth-grade student at DMS, said it was a great learning experience to compete against adults.
"It made me feel so proud that we even placed because we were up against adults," Ochoa said. "It was an eye-opening experience comparing our work to all of those professionals."
One of winning photographs was taken by Fernanda Vigil, an eighth-grade student at DMS. She said this experience inspired her to continue to pursue photography.
"I used to think I wasn't a good photographer, but when my pictures won, I thought maybe I can really be something," Vigil said. "I had hope the whole day, but for something of mine to win was just so big."
Triplett said the awards weren't the only thing that impressed her about this event, but she was equally impressed by the depth of the discussions the students were able to have surrounding their photography.
"This event definitely showed me, as a teacher, that photography belongs in our curriculum," Triplett said. "To hear the depth of the discussion that the students had utilizing literacy skills, science skills and mathematical skills – all of these skills are wrapped up into photography and art."
Eight students participated in the event: Adilene Fraire, Fernanda Vigil, William Carlson, Jailyn Ochoa, Lashay Witherow, Chelsea Soto-Suarez, Leah Cagle and Cody Moser. Adiline Fraire won first place in the Stairs category and Fernanda Vigil won fourth place in the Rough category. Teacher Amanda Triplett also placed second in the Rough category.