Monday, May 25, 2009

The biggest decision of their lives...

Last Friday morning I got a call at 10:30 waking me up (working the night shift rocks). I had to shoot photos of a pair of kids at Clyde High School, about 15 miles from here. We were doing a story on the school's valedictorian, P.J. Martinez, and salutatorian, Emily Yates. Because of the swine flu overreaction the UIL, Texas' governing body over high school competition, postponed all athletic events for 2 weeks, which made all the regional track meets get pushed back, which also pushed the state track meet back three weeks. The problem with this is the state track meet was falling on the same weeks as many high schools' graduations, including Clyde's. And to make it even worse, the events that both these kids were qualified in were relays. So, whatever decision was made was going to effect three other students. Not a situation I'd want to be in (not that there was ever any question as to whether I'd be the val or sal of my school, it wasn't even close, but that's another post!).
I was really nervous while heading out there. Someone else had set up the assignment with the coach, and it wasn't the reporter. So I had no idea what I was going to shoot, or what they would have available. When I got there the coach was waiting for me. As we were walking in, I asked if they had their cap and gowns and track uniforms available, then held my breath hoping to hear they had something available more than what they wore to school. Luckily as we turned the corner into his office everything I asked for was spread out on the table. Ok, possible crisis #1 solved. My next question was "How much time do they have?" I actually laughed after asking it, these 2 kids had the best grades in the school, I doubt if they missed class they'd have much trouble. So, possible crisis #2 averted. Now, we just needed a place to shoot it. So, the coach says, "We can use my classroom." I figured it was going to be empty, but they were holding lunch detention in there, well, not for long it was kind of cool watching him tell everyone to leave so we could use the class.
I began setting up all my lights after we cleared some desks out of the way to shoot the photo. The kids showed up after changing into their track uniforms, and were suprised by how much went into taking a picture. One of them said "I thought you would just come in and take a quick photo and leave, this is pretty cool."Yates then mentioned the super team photos, and asked if I was the one who took those. After answering in the affirmative she said, "Those are such cool pictures." It was kind of nice to know that people look at them and also that someone appreciates the work put into them.
Sadly, the school wasn't able to reschedule its graduation, but both Yates and Martinez both decided they were going to run at state (both relays are going in as favorites to medal). The school is going to either video their speeches before they leave or put together a live video feed from Austin. I think they made the right decision, whether they spoke on tape or live they can't have their class staus taken away from them, they already earned it. But they can't go back an re-run their race or win a medal based on their qualifying times.

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