“Connecting Communities” Area schools collaborate on book

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

This old house near Elgin is one of several contributions to a collaborative project. The photo was taken by Central student Megan Glawe.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Picture this: A collaborative project that uses the work of student photojournalists to unite the communities served by five Northeast Iowa schools. 

The project is about to become a reality. Photos taken by the students (and a few instructors) as well as information about each image has been compiled into a book that will be available for sale by month’s end at the participating schools. They are: Central, Clayton Ridge, Ed-Co, North Fayette Valley, Starmont and West Central.

The work of six Central students is featured in the book, according to the school’s art instruction Heather Meyer. 

“Students in grades 7 through 12 who have shown an interest in photography and writing were chosen for the project,” she explained, adding that all student participants attended a workshop in March that more clearly explained the project. The workshop also gave the students a chance to talk with professional photographers like Bob Campanga, who earlier helped other students get a book published.

Some of the cost of the effort has been covered with a grant from a private foundation. Meyer worked on the grant with Amanda Knox, the Starmont High School art teacher.

“What caught my attention (about the project) was area schools working together on a common theme and goal,” Meyer continued. “It has also provided students the opportunity to interview community business owners and residents. They were welcomed into local businesses, homes and lives. We spent some time visiting the historical homes of Elkader. The students were enthralled to learn the history that was told in the old walls of such beautiful architecture. As we toured these homes, the students spoke freely to their tour guides, and learned the value of proper interviewing, as well as manners and generosity.” 

Information gleaned from interviews was used to caption each image.

The information gathering aspect of the assignment was almost as memorable as the actual picture taking for at least one of the students.

“One thing that will stick with me is seeing things from different people’s perspective,” said Central student Mackenzie Vlazny. “When I was walking around my community with a student from outside the community she noticed the beauty in things that I simply saw as always there. Everything was new and exciting to her because she didn’t see those buildings and places every day. It’s always good to have a fresh eye when showcasing your community.”

Though there were a few challenges communicating with so many different teachers and students, Meyers feels good about the way the project unfolded. There’s even been talk, she said, about doing a similar project in a few years, inviting local photographers, writers and graphic designers to participate with the students.

Only 100 copies for the book will be offered for sale. To secure a copy, contact the high school office at 245-1750.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet