Photo project celebrates diversity and school spirit

McCann: ‘These are our kids, this our school, this is who we are’


photo by Polly Dierkens

Yearbook staff members contemplate the arrangement of the photos for the most impact on the school walls.

Natalie Queen, Reporter

In an effort to celebrate its diversity and decorate the empty hallway walls, yearbook students, adviser Polly Dierkens and Principal Brett McCann created a project that features students throughout the school.

A social media post about a photo project in a Columbus school inspired McCann to do something similar here, he said. The goal was to showcase different students. It was used as a way to make staff and students feel safe and welcomed.

“These are our kids, this our school, this is who we are,” McCann said.

By using the principal’s fund, McCann and Dierkens went through and looked at prices and settled on a starting price of $500. But McCann felt that “The budget was less important than making sure the project was done right.” Later, they decided to extend the original budget to print and place more pictures around the school.

They ordered over 30 photo gloss posters from Staples.

With lots of consideration and testing where they should be hung, McCann, Dierkens and the yearbook staff settled on a few different spots.

They have hung photos up around the whiteboards in the academic hallways in groups of three or four. They also have photos in the two hallways leading into the cafeteria and in an area in the media center.

Initially, the group wanted them hung on the right wall in the stairwell so everyone could see them in the school’s main entryway. But when they attempted, Dierkens said, the photos were swallowed up by the large space and looked awkward.

Yearbook seniors hold up the photos for adviser Polly Dierkens and other staff members to decide where they should be hung. They decided against the main stairwell because they did not cover enough of the wall to make an impact. (photo by Polly Dierkens)

They also tried making a collage on the second floor, but McCann said they should be hung all around the school so students can enjoy them everywhere.

Showing diversity was very important to yearbook staff member, senior Kristen Morgan, who said they wanted to feature photos that “represented our school’s essence.”

Although they could have featured students from previous years, McCann thought it would be better to stick with those from current years, “seeing how cool it is to see kids in our school community in our building. We’re here because of our kids,” he added.

As new students come to the high school, McCann and the yearbook staff hope to be able to continue this project annually, as this project isn’t just for the current classes, but upcoming classes too.

Morgan said her favorite part of this project was the support they received from the administrators. “They were giving us a giant thumbs up on our pictures and were just so impressed with the work we’ve been doing since before the start of school.”

Three of the pictures hanging on the walls are Morgan’s: one from the homecoming pep rally, another of the soccer boys at a girls’ game and the third is the Rocket Rowdies during the White-out game.

Senior yearbook staff member Ali Madden said she feels this beautification project has “brought the school together” and that seeing students’ reactions to the photos has been her favorite part.

Senior Aspen Hanzak said she adores this project and feels that “it not only recognizes and celebrates the Streetsboro community, but it also represents the hard work that our yearbook staff has put into representing the school and its students.”

Hanzak said her favorite photo is the one of freshman Mia Perez and junior Abbie Myers posed during a football game. “Mia is a beautiful person inside and out and I’m so glad she got featured,” Hanzak said. “She only deserves the best and it made me so happy to see her excited over her photo being chosen.”

Madden’s personal favorite is the picture of Louise Milton’s class working The Rocket Coffee Shop before the holidays because “it shows school pride and it shows the things we do for our staff at Boro.”

Now that all of the photos have been hung for now, Dierkens reflects on the project and is ready to cover more of the walls. “I’m completely happy with how the project turned out,” she said, “It’s really rewarding to see my students work showcased and appreciated throughout the school. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback that makes me really excited to print and show off our students and their amazing photography skills.”