Recently, I received a phone call from Sarah, a recent graduate of Arundel High School, inquiring about senior photographs. After talking with her for awhile, we set up a consultation date with her mother to meet me, review her senior portrait needs, go over my portfolio, review our investment guide and give her a tour of our gardens. So what's unusual about this? I will tell you! I have been photographing high school seniors for many years and this was one of the rare times that a high school senior actually called to schedule her own senior portrait session!
It was during our consultation that I learned that Sarah was chosen "Teen of The Week" for the upcoming issue of the Capital and not knowing what was written about her, I anxiously awaited the delivery of my newspaper. And, here is what I read (I paraphrased and condensed the actual version, but it tells her story). My first impressions were confirmed. I was, indeed, photographing a very special high school senior.
Sarah was President of the National Honor Society during her senior year and was also active in the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. In addition, she was involved in the Student Government Association at the class and school level for all four years.
Arundel High has a child development program called, The Little Wildcats Preschool, where students study the growth and development of preschoolers attending the preschool. Teens interact with the 3-5 year olds and in the course of interacting, learn teaching skills. Sarah had the opportunity to teach a class to the preschoolers for a semester. It was at the end of her Junior year that she coordinated a project called, "Summer Learning Bags" which had each child's name printed on the front. She mangaged to get Scholastic Books to donate books for the project that filled the bags for summer activity so that the little ones could use them during the summer months. In addition, when it came time for the youngsters' graduation, Sarah planed the cermony from picking out the songs, to preparing a slideshow showing their accomplishments. This landed her the Little Wildcats' Student Teacher of the Year for 2013 and again for 2014.
Sarah attended a Best Buddies International Leadership Conference at Indiana University where she learned leadership skills and methods to communicate effectively with individuals who are intellectually and developmentally disabled. Armed with this information, she was very active in the school's Best Buddy Chapter. "Everyone is inclusive and unified. Part of our Wildcat pride is welcoming everyone, even if they are different."
In addition to her school activities, Sarah was involved with the school's annual Holiday Sharing Drive. Through her and other volunteers' efforts, every child attending Odenton Elementary School received a gift containing a hat, gloves, socks, a scarf and a book for the holidays. In addition, Sarah coordinated a Pennies for Patients drive and raised $1500 in pennies for the Maryland Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
If that were not enough, in her Freshman year, she landed the lead role portraying Tracy Turnblad in the school's production of the musical "Hairspray", which she considers one of her favorite performances. In addition, she landed signigicant roles in "Cats," "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Sound of Music."
Sarah has been accepted into the University of Maryland, as part of the College Park Scholars program, where she is considering early education, dentistry or psycology. She will have the best of both worlds; the benefits of a big university within a small college environment.
Here is what her AP psychology teacher, Andrew Cizek had to say about Sarah:
"Her kindness and generosity always shined through the most. It sounds so cliche, but Sara is the reason why the phrase "people person" exists. She radiates a warm benevolence, which makes her leadership skills so unique. All of her freshmen that were in my homeroom really benefited from that presence, and I'm sure that's true in regards to her role in SGA and Best Buddies as well."
Sarah is indeed an incredible young woman destined to accomplish so much in her lifetime! In addition to her intelligence and beauty, Sarah is very compassionate and loving and mature beyond her years. I have photographed many seniors over the years and have loved every session. However, Sarah had me at "hello!" It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to capture her senior portraits at this time in her life when she is on the threshold of an amazingly bright future. I look forward to hearing all about her progress over the years. My advice? Look out, world! Sarah is going to make a difference! Thank you, Sarah, for choosing VISUAL CONCEPTS PHOTOGRAPHY to create your senior portraits!!