You may have seen my name in the photo credits of photographs in The Spoke over the past four years. Or, you might recognize me as that guy who awkwardly stands on the sidelines at sports games taking photos.
I am a photographer, a pilot, a journalist, a traveler, a leader, a producer, a brother and a friend. Throughout my years at Conestoga, I have been fortunate to take advantage of every opportunity that has been tossed my way—inside and outside of school.
In the past three years alone, I’ve been to more than 100 Conestoga sporting events as a photographer. I have traveled across the state with the teams, proudly supporting Conestoga through wins, losses, rain and snow.
There’s something indescribably special about standing on the sidelines, watching teams play and hearing the noise of my classmates cheering behind me. I feel like I owe these teams a thank you, for the experiences they’ve given me, and the lessons of camaraderie and dedication they’ve taught me.
I have been fortunate enough to get involved beyond the school community through opportunities offered to me at Conestoga. I have attended multiple concerts and events for The Spoke. From the second day of my Spoke career, when I photographed President Obama, to covering Taylor Swift and John Mayer in concert this past summer, I’ve experienced countless things that I would have otherwise never been exposed to.
Thanks to teachers I met, I joined the local fire company as staff photographer, got published in national newspapers and reached out further than I ever thought possible.
Conestoga has taught me to be motivated, and has given me the skills and opportunities to achieve my goals and surpass my own expectations. Although its deadlines might be flexible, Conestoga has done a fantastic job of giving me opportunities to experience the real world. I’ve been able to bepart of my community in my own way, using my niche to get involved and explore this world.
As I prepare to graduate in 32 days, I’ve begun to look back at the past four years, and at the friendships I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had. When I travel to other schools, I always feel like there’s something missing. Other communities just aren’t the same, and the schools lack something that we have. Years later, I still haven’t found what it is that makes us so unique, but I know that Conestoga is different, and we all need to appreciate that.
As a photographer, I’ve had my fair share of awkward photo shoots, asking teachers to pose a certain way, or showing up at someone’s house to take pictures of their garage band or fashion studio. Yes, the job is embarrassing at times, like when you get hit by a soccer ball, interrupt an entire class to pull a student out for a photo or run around the field during the Homecoming pep rally, just to get pictures of Dr. Best stuffing his face with pie.
But, as embarrassing as these experiences may have been, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They were funny, enlightening and unique—I don’t know the next time I’ll accidentally bump into CNN’s tripod during a presidential press conference, causing the camera to shake and broadcasting a miniature “earthquake” to viewers across the country.
These experiences have defined my high school career, and I have gained invaluable lessons from them. I learned to laugh at myself, as well as to appreciate everything we have here. The students I’ve met at Conestoga made me realize that our student body is, well, awesome. I think it’s easy to forget just how incredible the students of Conestoga are.
Believe it or not, these four years go by quickly. Make sure you get involved. Everyone has his story, and everyone has one thing that separates him from everyone else. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I get assigned to photograph someone else who amazes me and reminds me that the hidden talent in this school is endless. That is my favorite part of this job.
So please, take advantage of this atmosphere while you have it, and be the next person that makes me stop and click.