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ASPIRE Students Win First Place in State-Wide Competition

Three students from ASPIRE Community Day School received first place for their submissions for the California State Fair Photography competition. Each of these ASPIRE students had their photographs displayed at the California State Fair in Sacramento. 

Last year, ASPIRE’s Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher for Photography and Digital Media, Robert Oliver, has had students working on honing their photography skills. One of the projects was experimenting with shutter speed. Students were encouraged to think outside of the box and use different shutter speeds to capture moments you wouldn’t normally see. Students rose to the challenge and took some amazing photographs. Mr. Oliver heard about the California State Fair Photography competition and remembered three photographs that stood out to him. He asked his students Hannah Klos, Christian Silva, and Nicholas Fox for specific photos they took during the shutter speed lesson. Each of these three students won first place in their respective categories. 

Hanna Klos, now a Hemet High student, attended ASPIRE Community Day School last year and fell in love with photography. She said she wants to pursue it as a hobby and continue to master her skills. Hannah’s photo “Precious Resource” won first in the Youth-Nature category. Hannah said she was surprised when Mr. Oliver approached her for her photo. She said she remembers liking her photo, but didn’t realize how good it was until Mr. Oliver saw it. She said her new interest in photography has opened a more creative side to her. “Pictures mean something more to me now,” she said. She said she is able to really appreciate a photograph and the creativity that went behind it.

Christian Silva, a tenth grader at ASPIRE Community Day School, received the first place ribbon for his photograph “Sploosh” in the Youth-People category. Christian said he remembered this assignment and the shock he felt when he took the photograph thinking to himself, “I actually got a good shot,” and was even happier when he saw the reaction of Mr. Oliver when he showed it to him. Christian admitted that this class has done more for him than teach him how to take good photos. He said Mr. Oliver first spoke to the class about how to get a job, spoke to them about resume building, and then taught them about how to use a camera. “It’s opened my eyes to the outside world and other possibilities for me after high school.”

Nicholas Fox, a junior at ASPIRE Community Day School, received first place for his photo “Water” in the Youth-Black and White category. Nick had the same experience as his other classmates and didn’t realize how good his photo was until he saw the reaction from Mr. Oliver.  He said at first he didn’t want to be in the photography class, but now he enjoys using the camera and said that it makes life more interesting because you are constantly looking for different ways to view things. He also drew a parallel between photography and life, saying, “It’s helped me see things in a more positive way and helped me realize there is more to life than just bad moments. When you are shooting with your camera, all the shots you are taking are good, it’s just one is better.” 

CTE teacher Robert Oliver could not be more proud of his students. He said he took the same class they are being offered when he was in high school and it opened a lot of doors for him and he wants to be able to provide the same experience and opportunities for his students. He said his favorite part is being able to see his students grow, not only in photography, but as a person. His goal is to inspire his students and find lessons where they can express themselves; “this class is about being able to see the world in a different way.” 

Congratulations to Hannah, Christian, and Nicholas on receiving first place for your photographs and thank you Mr. Oliver for inspiring your students. You have shown that if you provide an environment for students to grow and learn, they will reach new heights and create amazing things!

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