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Contact: Stephanie Fontenot
Title: Director of Communications and Marketing
Phone: (409) 766-5146

GALVESTON, TEXAS – Oct. 4, 2022 – The photography offerings available to students at Galveston ISD’s Ball High School have expanded rapidly recently, growing from one course offered to now four in just a two-year span.

The classes, part of the school’s Media Arts and Digital Technology Community, provide students in grades 9 through 12 with opportunities to gain first-hand digital photography experience in a variety of ways, including photographing district and community events.

“Photography has always been a favorite activity of a lot of the students, especially now in the digital age,” Ball High Media Arts Coach Michael Dudas said. “Photography used to be taught at Ball but it went away. We decided to bring it back. I had 30 students last year – this year I have about 105.”

In addition to its growth, a shared vision for the program supported by district administration and board leadership recently came to fruition as a seasoned group of students focused their efforts internally and completed a new and exciting effort in partnership with another GISD campus.

For two days, six Ball High photography students were stationed in Central Middle School’s auditorium taking yearbook photos for every 7th and 8th-grade student in the district.

The effort, in addition to providing the students with first-hand experience, allows the district to sell the digital images at a lower cost than using an outside vendor.

“The photos are $15,” Dudas said. “It’s a mini fundraiser. Central keeps a portion of the income and the photography program keeps a portion to buy more equipment, etc. It’s a creative and useful way to raise more money.”

Families who choose to purchase the yearbook photos will receive a digital photo file via email, allowing them to print or share the image as desired.

“It’s a low-cost, quality product and gives our kids experience,” Dudas added.

Central Middle School Principal Stephanie Mendoza is another key figure in the partnership, having worked with the high school students on an after-school video program the year prior.

“This yearbook photo effort gives the photography students real-world experience, and it gives my students the opportunity to see that this is something they can aspire to do and a possibility when they get to that level in their education,” Mendoza said. “It’s giving more awareness of opportunities students will have at Ball High School.”

Photography students will also visit GISD’s Rosenberg Elementary for a similar project later this year. Additionally, there are hopes that the program will continue to grow exponentially in its third year as well.

“It’s really cool to be here to be able to learn how to start running things like a business,” Ball High junior and media student Caleb Partipilo said. “As someone who wants to go into the entertainment industry, this is how things run and we’re starting to learn how to do things by ourselves. The most engaging part is the fact that we all do this ourselves.”

WATCH: “Photo Class Teaches Students Real World Experiences” video story by Clear Life Media: