Bay High seniors capture memorable moments for Yankee Hill peers

The clicking of cameras led to many friendly conversations between students from Bay High Focus Program and Yankee Hill Education Center this spring.
Students from both schools gathered on Yankee Hill’s campus for a senior photo experience. The two-hour event provided both practical and social benefits for everyone involved. Bay High students pocketed real-world practice behind the lens, and Yankee Hill students received a treasured keepsake of their key educational milestone.
Bay High seniors Alex, Eli and Mikey are all members of a photojournalism class at the focus program. They began the afternoon taking pictures of one student on a gravel road just outside of school, and they captured more photos inside Yankee Hill’s main hallway. They said it meant a lot to be given the chance to help students the same age as them.
“As seniors ourselves, we know how important senior photos are,” Alex said. “We want to do a good job for them because it’s important. We have an opportunity to make memories for them, so this is something that’s really cool.”
“It’s one thing to work with cameras at Bay High, but getting to take actual pictures out here is something that takes it to another level,” Mikey said. “It’s a lot of fun. These are pictures that they’re going to use and look at.”
Yankee Hill parent Serina watched with pride as her son smiled for a group of photographers. They snapped their first pictures on steps on the west side of the school building, and they then took multiple portraits on the gravel road.
“It’s amazing to watch,” Serina said. “He cares a lot about this, so it’s nice to see him have his pictures taken.”
Bay High teacher Brent Jarosz said he was excited for students from both schools. It was the first time the two sites worked together on the project.
“They’ve practiced all semester doing different techniques with the camera, doing different things, and then this opportunity presented itself, and we decided to jump on it,” Jarosz said. “It’s giving a real-life experience for Bay High students, but then also giving an opportunity for Yankee Hill students who may not have it. It’s a cool thing.”
Bay High opened during the Fall 2022 semester as a partnership between LPS, local businesses and the nonprofit Rabble Mill. The goal is to provide entrepreneurial-minded students with a chance to explore many creative fields.
Bay High’s curriculum includes multiple classes for high school juniors and seniors. Students take four Business, Marketing and Information Technology (BMIT) content creation courses during the two years. They learn general business and technology skills through a variety of projects and event planning sessions.
Bay High juniors also take courses on personal finance, digital design, journalism, web design and programming, sports and event marketing and podcasting as literature. Seniors complete classes on journalism, photojournalism, video production, entrepreneurship and personal branding and marketing.
Jarosz said he has enjoyed watching photojournalism students become more confident with their cameras during the semester. Many of them were familiar with photography language like shutter speed, aperture and depth of field before the class, but multiple students had never spoken that vocabulary. They formed partnerships and helped each other explore the options found on their cameras.
“There are some students who are using cameras as a side gig already, and then there are some kids who picked up a camera for the first time this semester,” Jarosz said. “It’s been cool to see them work together and communicate on different things.”
Eli and Alex said it was valuable to have those conversations outside their focus program site. They were encouraged by the positive feedback they were receiving from Yankee Hill students about their photos.
“It’s a lot like the first step in being a professional photographer,” Eli said. “This is definitely more of a professional experience. I’m enjoying it, because the more experience you have, the better you get at photography.”
“It’s going to be fun to see how these turn out,” Alex said. “We’ve been able to try out different places for the pictures, and we’ve used a lot of different settings on the camera. This is giving us a chance to try out what we’ve been practicing during the semester.”
Bay High teacher Tina Le sent several other students on photography assignments to various spots on campus. They practiced their skills by capturing images of trees, bushes, exterior building walls and classroom materials. They learned how tree leaves can create shadows on subjects, what type of angles to use for nature scenes and which camera lens would work best for close-up and faraway pictures.
Eli said he would remember the Yankee Hill trip for the many positive lessons it provided everyone during the day.
“It’s more personal than an assignment we’d do in class,” Eli said. “Getting to help people by taking pictures is fun. We’re helping them get to do something that maybe they normally wouldn’t have a chance to do.”
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Published: May 31, 2024, Updated: May 31, 2024

Hugs and smiles were common this spring at Yankee Hill Education Center. Photojournalism students at Bay High Focus Program visited Yankee Hill's campus to take senior pictures of students. Everyone involved with the project said they were happy with the results.