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YUHSD hosts first-ever district photo competition

Jair Delgadillo helping a student

Film and TV production and digital photography students from four Yuma Union High School District schools participated in the inaugural YUHSD Digital Photography Competition on Jan. 31, 2020 held at Kofa High School. 

Students from Gila Ridge, Yuma, Kofa, and San Luis high schools were selected to participate in this competition, which helps prepare them for future SkillsUSA Digital Photo events. Each campus sent 14 students to compete by turning in a portfolio prior to the event and then a field assignment on a topic chosen by judges. The event concluded with a question and answer session in the auditorium.

Gila Ridge junior Bryanda Lara was the overall winner with Aleena Linton of Kofa finishing second and Bradford Walk from Gila Ridge placing third.  

Student portfolios were to contain a photograph that showed texture and the field assignment was to feature shadows. Lara received perfect scores on both areas and believes this competition has given her confidence in her skills and will help jumpstart her future.

“At first, I was nervous to compete against other students, but Mr. Kuzniak (Gila Ridge Film and TV Production Teacher James Kuzniak) really encouraged me and told me I was just as creative and talented,” said Lara. “When I found out I was the winner I was surprised but really proud. This entire school year I have learned so much and been the creative lead on projects for our sports teams and news program and it’s given me the confidence to one day pursue a career in content creation.”

Linton, a junior, added: “Being a part of the event it gave me an idea of what it takes to go into the photography industry and how competitive it really is. The event made me feel better than just being a kid who took the class for a credit. I was part of something greater.”

Kofa Digital Photography teacher Tom Duggan, who chaired the competition, believes this event will be an annual occurrence.

“We really wanted to do something different to separate it from just a straight Skills competition,” Duggan said. “And so we asked if the judges (who were all local area professionals) would be willing to meet with the participating students 1-on-1 to give them feedback on their work, and advice on trying to make it in the industry.”

Local industry professionals Eric Castanos, Corrina Fajardo, Alexandra Crenshaw, Daniel Rodriguez, and Jair Delgadillo graciously donated their time to participate in the event and share their experiences in the industry with the students. Four of the five judges are graduates of YUHSD schools.

Eric Patten