MONTINI CATHOLIC PHOTOGRAPHY STUDENTS USE THE LENS TO SHARE THEIR FEELINGS DURING THE SHUTDOWN
Montini Catholic photography teacher, Mrs. Dina Kwit, took advantage of the unconventional circumstances created by the coronavirus shut down to teach her students the art of photojournalism - using one's camera to capture a visual representation of an experience.
"With the pandemic situation and the on-line learning for students, I thought it would be a good idea for my students to be able to share their feelings about what is happening in their lives right now," said Kwit, who tasked her students with capturing an image of how they are personally coping with the pandemic. An essay of 300 words accompanying their image was also assigned.
Kwit was very amazed at the results she received. With seniors struggling with their final months of school and athletes coming to terms with having no spring sports season, most acknowledged their distress. "I never expected to see and read such deep reflections on how the lives of students have changed. Some of the student's essays were very deep and revealed the physical and emotional struggles a young person is going through. I feel that their self expressions are probably very similar to what their classmates are going through as well." She hopes that In ten years here students will look back on this assignment and remember what they considered important and how their view of the world changed.
"At first, many students were glad when schools decided to close due to the outbreak and thought of it as a relief," wrote senior, Connor Breck. "We thought e-learning would be a breeze
and this whole crisis would end shortly, and we would return to school no problem. We were all
extremely wrong about it. E-learning is difficult and stressful." Along with his essay he included a photo of his desk, one that he feels relentlessly tied to throughout this experience. "The flow of the school day is usually very smooth. Transitioning from class to class, interacting with friends and teachers, and the overall feel of the classroom setting makes a school day interesting and somewhat enjoyable," he shared. "We will not be able to take part in and enjoy most of the things that happen during senior year, whether that would be prom, graduation, or just hanging out with friends before we part ways. Instead we are all stuck at our desks all day and just doing school work and missing out on the fun of being at school."
International student and sophomore, Eric Li, had similar views about the shutdown. "The days of quarantine are boring, and sometimes you feel lonely," he wrote. His photo featured himself in goggles and a mask. "This week, my family called me and I’m always thinking about going back to China, but I heard many flights got canceled and it's dangerous on the plane. I think this is the worst thing ever in my life. I wish for everyone to stay healthy. I hope I can see everyone in the fall."
"Younger generations have never been through something this serious and it’s taking a huge toll on everyone, especially the youth," wrote sophomore Aracelly Baldo, whose black and white photo depicted an abandoned playground. "I wanted this image to convey that fun is put on hold. When one imagines a park they vision a vibrant play area with carefree children having the time of their lives playing. When someone looks at this photo, I want them to feel isolation and heartache to show how difficult life is at the moment. (This event) really opened my eyes that we should never take things for granted in life."
Senior Joey Knudtson featured a more positive photo, one of his family playing games and reconnecting. "There are negative aspects, but positive ones as well - as families are rediscovering one another during this crisis," said Kwit.
Overall, not being present at school for the last few months is a disappointment," summarized Connor. "I hope something like this won’t happen again so that other generations of students don’t have to go through what students are going through now."