Let the New Journey Begin...

It's been quite a year for the 2020 seniors. It started off pretty normal in September 2019, young men and women everywhere finished their junior year, most of them anticipating the excitement of going into their LAST year of high school. Little did any of us know that the school year would be cut short and without warning.

I met Isaac and his family on a warm October evening for his senior photos. Another client had referred his mom to me and when we had our initial phone consult, I just knew this would be a fun session and I couldn't wait to meet Isaac and his family. We talked about location, outfit choices and anything that was special to Isaac. The night we met, we walked along the North Shore of Pittsburgh laughing, chatting, sharing stories and getting to know one another between locations.

Believe it or not, "senior guys" don't typically love getting their photos taken (wink wink)!! It's awkward and strange having to "pose" and "smile" over and over again! But they do it for their parents who want nothing more than to preserve this moment in time ...a stepping stone on the journey to the next adventure that awaits. For Isaac, his new journey will begin at RIT in engineering. I think what impressed me the most about Isaac was not only his kindness and intelligence but also his willingness to go thru pose after pose without complaining once. We joked about the "show your teeth" photos until the sun set in Point State Park.

We talked about Isaac's upcoming senior year, classes he was planning on taking and his experience with soccer playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. We finished the formal photos with the Pittsburgh backdrop behind us, but Issac's true spirit came out when he changed into his soccer uniform. His love for the game and unbelievable talent is an inspiration for anyone. He was a "good sport" with the formals while I instructed him through lighting and posing for the previous photos but now, it was HIS time to be creative, his time to shine. I will admit that I know very little about sports so I encouraged him to lead the rest of the session. All I had to say was "do your thing...let me see your best tricks" and the rest of the night was history! A true athlete was in front of my lens and I felt more than honored to be capturing the swiftness in his steps and the precision in his kicks. I watched in awe as he moved effortlessly around Point State Park as the glow of the sun went down over the river.

Fast forward 7 months and here it is, May 2020 and senior year has come to an abrupt end. Seniors have missed so much this year. They didn't realize that in mid March, it would be the last time they walked the halls together of a school that was so much like family and felt like home at Aquinas Academy. Two months of distance learning proved to be a challenge in so many ways , especially not being able to see friends, go on their senior trip to Cedar Point, or finish out student government activities in which Isaac was an active member. Most importantly, there would be no formal graduation in June to mark the end of 12 years of hard work.

However, Isaac is focusing on the positive. He was completely surprised when the teachers at school hand delivered their caps and gowns to their houses in a small parade (spoiler alert: grab some tissues for that video!) and I was honored again to capture these end of the year memories for Isaac and his family. Hopefully, there will be a graduation ceremony in August to celebrate the seniors and the people that have loved them and cheered them on. He is looking forward to meeting new people in college and being in a new environment. Isaac shared that his favorite memories from this past year have been working on the student government, soccer, and homecoming.

As we finished up the cap and gown photos, I said to Jen, Isaac's mom, "I bet when he was in first grade, you didn't expect to see this day so quickly". She said, "It goes by in a blink. It was SO FAST". Time is both a blessing and a gift but it sure does go by fast. His parents have raised him well. Isaac is an amazing young man. He is humble, kind, respectful and grateful. Although I just met them a short 8 months ago, I know he is destined to go far in life. Isaac, I wish you well in your transition college life!!