Lac Seul Education Authority taking innovative approach
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
An initiative of the Lac Seul Education Authority to support school fundraising was much more than just dollars and cents for Obishikokaang Elementary School Grade 8 student Elijah Land.
“I was really into photography last year,” Land shared, explaining he was then a member of the school’s press club.
Land, along with fellow senior students Arden Bunting and Reilly Thivierge, were given an opportunity to learn photography from experienced photographer Brent Wesley, whose work is known to many in the Sioux Lookout area.
Wesley, communications outreach coordinator for Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre, and a Lac Seul band member, was hired to teach teams of senior students at the education authority’s schools in Frenchman’s Head and Kejick Bay.
“I took them through the camera, lighting, the settings to use and why we do it,” Wesley said.
Teaching assistant Eugene Capay taught students attending the school in Whitefish Bay.
Equipped with that knowledge, students organized and carried out school photos.
“I think the hands on experience, using the camera, that’s the fun part. I’m here to support them, but they’ve been leading the process,” Wesley commented.
Asked his favorite part of the initiative, Land exclaimed, “Taking the photos!”
His enthusiasm and professionalism, along with that of his photography team Bunting and Thivierge, helped his fellow students to be more at ease as they had their photos taken.
All three boys said they would like to learn more about photography and that Wesley said is music to his ears.
“I love being able to pass on anything photography related. I love the technical side of it, just the lights and taking portraits of people. That’s what I love to do, so being able to share that with others - I was self-taught - so for me to share that and help kids learn a skill, even if they just take it on as a hobby, it’s really nice,” Wesley said.
All three boys said they enjoyed learning from Wesley.
“It’s been fun,” Bunting said.
“It’s cool,” Thivierge added.
Wesley said working with the students has been quite rewarding.
“I think it’s awesome. It empowers young people to see a project like this and make it happen.”
Lac Seul Education Authority education director Eric Bortlis said proceeds from the sale of the school photos will support the Grade 7/8 year end trip at all three schools in Lac Seul.
He said doing school photos in this manner saves thousands of dollars.
He added, “We’ve been able to get parents some photos they can send out for Christmas at a very affordable price.”
“Now that the kids know the business skills and photography skills, if we want to do family photos for Christmas, they can do that,” he added.
Obishikokaang Elementary School Principal Steven Korobanik commented, “For the kids to take ownership and be able to do a project that can also go toward their 7/8 trip, the proceeds of the pictures. I think it’s really neat they’re able to take a bit of a leadership position and learn a skilled trade they can use potentially in the future.”