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Photo contest captures creative spirit of DCSD students and staff

Creativity is Alive and Well in DCSD

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Last fall, Douglas County School District (DCSD) students and staff members were invited to “take a shot” and enter their work into the DCSD Fall Photo Contest.

It quickly became apparent that creativity is abundant in DCSD, with contestants submitting a total of 929 entries into five categories: Altered Images, DCSD, Nature, People, and Places.

Local photographers and central administration staff took on the task of judging the images. The winners were selected based on several criteria: composition; color; contrast; focus; exposure; creativity, and what story the photo tells.

Given the diversity of terrain in Douglas County and the beauty of Colorado, it is not surprising that Nature proved to be the most popular category. With photos depicting everything from insects to mountains, this topic produced spectacular results, including the grand prize winning entry by Ponderosa High School junior Alexandra R. Emond. Her photo shows a ladybug in sharp focus, against a blurred background of light and color. Emond’s photography portfolio also has been named a Gold Key recipient in the 2014 Scholastic Art Awards.

Category winners for Nature are eighth-grader Kian Rodwin, who attends DCS Montessori Charter School, and James Chapman, a social studies teacher at Castle View High School. 

Rodwin’s photo of a dried aspen leaf lying on crystallized ice beautifully represents the transition of seasons from fall to winter. Chapman’s entry depicts a valley of columbines with a backdrop of rocky peaks, still holding onto snow.

The staff Grand prizewinner is Art Teacher Cindy Ross from Douglas County High School. Her entry in the Places category captures a scene in Alaska, with a boat entering a foggy cove, with the lights on the shoreline bringing a glimmer of warmth to the scene.

The student winner for the category of Places is Peter Sun, who entered a remarkable image of a multi-level oval staircase, taken from below. Sun is an eighth-grade student at the STEM School. 

Rock Canyon High School Science Teacher Eric Schmidt composed the Places winner for staff. His compelling image takes us to the American cemetery above Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.

The ability to take creative license was an element of the contest represented by the Altered category. Student James Delahaye combined the photograph of a woman with a faraway expression with an overlay of color and impressionist art to create a striking image on a stark white background. Delahaye attends Douglas County High School, and received a 2014 Scholastic Art Awards Gold Key for his portfolio.

Ponderosa High School Art Teacher Patty Hayes won the staff award in the Altered category. Her image provides a range of shadow and color with a panoramic image of sunshine, clouds, sand dunes, and mountains.

Submissions to the People category captured a range of emotion, situations and environments from around the world. Photo contest participants demonstrated an ability to recognize similarities and differences regardless of location, and tell a story with a click of the shutter.

Camille Kireilis, a junior at ThunderRidge High School, captured the spirit of independence with a photo of a girl with an American flag stretched behind her as she walks toward the sun.

The moment of possibility when a child is born was beautifully captured in Melanie Rapp’s image of a newborn child sleeping on a soft blanket. The image portrays the purity and innocence that accompany the arrival of a new baby. Rapp teachers art at Castle View High School.

The DCSD category brought the contest back into our neighborhood, with elements of fun, teamwork, and pride. Chaparral High School senior Cameron Meyer received the student award, and Rock Ridge Elementary’s Barbara Berndt, an Early Childhood Education teacher, won the staff award.

Meyer captured a moment of concentration with a close-up of a young boy. The light on the face of the boy intensifies the moment.

Berndt’s image captured a moment of fun and discovery, with young students in a flurry of feathery seeds when a cattail pod is broken open.

Follow this link to view all of the images in an online gallery.

The DCSD Board of Education recognized all of the winners at the February 18 Board meeting. Grand prizewinners Emond and Ross each received a $100 Apple Store gift card and each of the category winners received a $25 iTunes gift card. Each individual in the group also received a framed print of their entry.

Many individuals took time to view and judge images, and contributed to the success of the contest. Judges (listed below) and contestants  are to be congratulated for their support of the creative spirit in Douglas County schools. 

Professional Photographers   
Jeanette Bol
Paul DiSalvo
Kevin Keyser
Michelle Kroll
Kathi McFadden
DCSD Central Administration Judges
Randy Barber
​Allie Bloomfield
Stacey Briggs
Brian Cesare
Kelly DeVol
Nona Eichelberger
Dan McMinimee
Sam Nuanez
Susan Paulsen
Tammy Taylor
Paula Teel
Cinamon Watson

Follow this link to view a gallery of the winning photos.

Related story: Artistic ability in ample supply among DCSD high schools

February 18, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Communications

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