Our 2020 Senior Single Photo Exhibition

At the end of each school year, we ask our capstone PJ436 students to select one photo that means the most to them from their time here at WKUPJ and to tell us something about the image. Obviously, it is a powerful thing to graduate from our program, even in this era of social distancing and COVID-19 – we could not be more proud of this year’s seniors.


Madihah Abri

Louisville, Kentucky | Photojournalism major; Spanish minor

Shante Parker & LA Rogers

ABOUT THESE PHOTOS
Both of these images were taken a few weeks apart from each other, and looking back on them I realize how important they are to me. This was the moment everything “clicked” after going through various obstacles, including having to leave WKU and then finding a way to come back. I felt my confidence starting to fade.

I have always had a passion for storytelling and was in my opinion becoming a decent editorial photographer prior to having to leave WKU. When I came back I felt lost and “not good enough.” That is until I was able to take PJ 439, Advanced Studio Lighting.

While taking these images, I not only realized my self-worth as a photographer but also my hidden desire to own my own studio. I stepped out of the world of editorial photography and into a world of fashion and portraiture. I developed a love for blending colors and shaping the light around different skin tones to make the desired feature pop.

In the studio I’m still able to be a storyteller and give representation to those who do not have that power; but now I can do it in a more creative and “Me” style. The portraits of Shante and LA allowed me to grow as a person and a photographer by guiding my way back to what I lost – my personal drive.


Phoebe Alcala

Sacramento, California | Photojournalism major, Sociology minor

The advanced dancers of the San Diego Academy of Ballet prepare backstage for their yearly performance of The Nutcracker on Nov. 23, 2018.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
Reflecting back on my years at Western, I can’t think of a shoot that was more physically and mentally exhausting than this one. I was on my feet for hours on end making sure that I captured every moment possible, foregoing water breaks in favor of shooting the countless tutus and elaborate stretching routines that seemed to be around every corner. Here, I discovered that there is something magical about being behind the scenes of a ballet performance. Elegance and chaos collide as dancers hurry to apply makeup and search for costumes while surrounded by blur of tulle, glitter and dance moms. All goes quiet as soon as the curtain rises, and the dancers look perfectly polished. The audience members know nothing of the mayhem that’s going on behind the scenes; all eyes are on the seemingly effortless movements of the dancers.

To me, the fine line between elegance and chaos reflected in this image mirrors the job of a photojournalist so perfectly. Blood, sweat and a whole lot of tears serve as the foundation for success. This was one of the most challenging and rewarding shoots of my PJ career thus far. Nothing is effortless, whether it be ballet or photography – you must be pushed to your limits to be able to see what you can truly accomplish.


Michelle Hanks

Chattanooga, Tennessee | Photojournalism major, Sociology minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
  • Louisville Public Media, Louisville, Ky.
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Mich.

Natasha, 24, frantically gets ready to leave her home to see her daughter for her weekly foster care visit in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She arrived with only minutes to spare before the visitation would have been canceled. She had missed the last three visits.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
This image is part of a photo story that documents Natasha as she attempts to gain custody of her infant child due to a drug charge. Despite her good intentions, Natasha continued to use meth while she waited for her court sentencing.

This was the most ethically challenging and sensitive story I’ve worked on during my time in the program. Natasha gave me a lot of trust to let me photograph her while she was in a very vulnerable state of her life. I felt a huge weight of responsibility to tell her story with empathy, yet also with accuracy and fairness. I’ve lost touch with Natasha, but I still often think about how she is doing since we last saw each other.

Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Greyhound bus station has stayed the same for the last 29 years, yet new people come and go every day.

ABOUT THIS VIDEO
I made this video during the fall semester of my senior year. At the time I lacked a lot of confidence in myself to tell a compelling story about this bus station, a place that looked so mundane from the surface level. But with the guidance and encouragement of my professor, Tim Broekema, I surprised myself and made one of my most cherished short docs to date.

I took away two lessons from making this short doc. I learned how important it is to share your work with others while it’s in the “in progress” phase. I am one who tends to avoid sharing work when it’s still messy and unpolished, but if I had not come to my professor before the short doc deadline the video would not have turned out as strong as it did. The second lesson I learned is that it’s possible as a filmmaker to create something interesting without having the most interesting footage. As visual journalist Eric Maierson once wisely said, it’s not about the cards you are dealt with but how you play them.


Morgan Hornsby

McKee, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, History minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • The Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M.
  • Tulsa World, Tulsa, Okla.
  • Naples Daily News, Naples, Fla.
  • The Marshall Project, New York, N.Y.

Carolyn Williams and her great-granddaughter, Adalynn, stand in an embrace at Carolyn’s home in Claremore, Okla. on August 10, 2018. Twenty-one years after her daughter, Angelina, was removed from her care, Shaunte Gordon received a Facebook message from her daughter asking to meet again. When they were reunited, Shaunte brought her mother, Carolyn, and Angelina brought her daughter, Adalynn. For the first time, Carolyn saw her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. “Four generations restored,” Carolyn said.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
I made this photo of Carolyn and Adalynn while we were taking photos of them with the rest of their family. When I noted the similarity of their hairstyles, the two of them happily excused the others from the frame to get one by themselves. Their bond was special — deeply ingrained and apparent despite not knowing each other for much of their lives.

When I received the internship at the Tulsa World, I did not know I would spend most of my free time that summer working on a story about incarceration. Before that, criminal justice wasn’t something I thought about very often. My first assignment was to photograph a prison graduation ceremony. After that, I wanted to learn more about the criminal justice system and its impact, so I started working on a project about the effect of incarceration on families in Oklahoma.

The people who let me into their lives and shared their stories with me that summer changed my life forever. When my subjects put photos in frames, or when the stories ran in the paper, I felt more purposeful than I had in my life. Since then, telling stories of incarceration has been my primary focus as a photographer. Working on these stories, I feel a greater purpose for all the skills I’ve learned over my time at Western.


Nic Huey

Atlanta, Georgia | Photojournalism major, Folklore minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • Beam Imagination, Atlanta, Ga. (two summers)

Mason Ashby, 9, and his great uncle, Earl Ashby, spend time together at Cedar Ridge Speedway in Morgantown, Ky. The Ashby family has operated the half-mile dirt racetrack for decades, but they do more than sell tickets. The Ashby’s are one of the fastest families in Kentucky, with Mason regularly beating drivers twice his age.

ABOUT THESE PHOTOS
Cameras have always given me an excuse to visit unfamiliar places. For these images, I brought out a large format camera and set up a white seamless to make portraits of characters at the track. It is pretty special to have a total stranger sit for a portrait; it gives you a reason to be curious, ask questions and learn about their life.

This is one of the many instances that solidified my love for the intersection of journalism and photography. The idea of creating images that can live on and become a part of visual history is a constant source of inspiration for me, and days like this day out at the racetrack constantly remind me of the joy of documentary photography.

Larry Duncan leaves the house every night after sundown and doesn’t return until the early morning. His goal? Getting students home safe.

ABOUT THIS VIDEO
Ever since the first ride-share companies started popping up, I was fascinated with idea of two strangers coming together in a car for a trip. It is a temporary and random intersection of two lives, one that ends as quick as it begins. What conversations take place? What ideas are shared? When I came across Larry’s Instagram page, I knew it was my chance to find out. For several nights I rode along with Larry and his passengers documenting the strange reality of ride-share.

With documentary video, I love to be a fly on the wall. This project allowed me to do just that, even getting in-car footage from Larry’s dash cam. It was awesome to document the seemingly innocuous occurrences of Larry’s ride-share routine through the early hours of each morning, and to see the bonds he forms with his passengers as their lives temporarily cross paths.


BreAnna Luker

Fenton, Missouri | Photojournalism major, Marketing minor

Amanda Young, 30, hugs her niece during the “baby” ballet class at Dance Images in Bowling Green, Ky. Young has been dancing since she was 5 and teaches kids and adults of all ages in dance and fitness. The girls got to play dress up with the ‘”big girl” costumes at the end of practice.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
After 18 years of spending my days and nights in a dance studio, I walked in with a camera bag on my shoulder instead of my dance bag. I picked up my camera and found myself lost in combining my two passions – dance and photography.

For me, this image is more than just a young girl hugging her dance teacher. This image embodies everything that dance means to me. When I captured this moment, I saw myself in each of the young girls. The little girl in the red dress is admiring the beautiful tutu she hopes to wear one day. The little girl in purple watches herself dance, not caring what anyone else thinks. The little girl in yellow just soaks in every moment around her. The little girl in green hugs her teacher, someone who she admires and looks up to. Dance taught me so many incredible qualities, and I find myself integrating them in my photographic work; looking to future possibilities; not getting wrapped up in what others think of my work; soaking in every moment that I carry my camera; and continuing to be inspired by my peers.

I think that’s why I love this image so much. It took me me back to so many unforgettable memories of mine. This image showed me that as photojournalists, that’s what we do. We capture moments. We capture memories.


Emily Moses

Nolensville, Tennessee | Photojournalism major, Geography minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Mich.
  • Friends of Acadia, Bar Harbor, Maine

Avery Rolett, 5, waits to be buckled up in the passenger seat of his dad’s pickup truck outside their farm in Scottsville, Ky. His parents, Jackson and Jordan Rolett, are first- generation farmers who started StoneHouse Market Farm less than a year ago. Jackson helped start the Double Dollars program at the Bowling Green Community Farmers Market, an initiative to make local food an affordable option for the entire community. The Rolett’s receive SNAP benefits to feed their children because the farm does not provide them with a living wage.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
I took this photo right before leaving my subject’s house in the fall of my junior year. That semester, I was enrolled in PJ 334, Picture Stories, a class that gave me clarity that photojournalism was far more than a hobby for me. The class gave me the opportunity to get to know families that I might not have met otherwise.

During this class, I pursued many environmental stories that involve farming and food insecurity, an interest that is rooted in me from being raised on a farm. The Rolett family not only allowed me into their home, they shared their passion for farming sustainably to create a better world for their children to grow up in. The images I created in this story of the Rolett boys running around barefoot on their farm made me nostalgic for stomping in the creek on my family farm with my little brother. Although I was telling the story of the Rolett family, I found glimpses of my own story in theirs.


Grace Pritchett

Evansville, Indiana | Photojournalism major, Advertising minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Mich.

Left to right, Daeanna Kidd, Lanae Matthews and Takoryah Green play at the Parker Bennett Community Center, which offers free after-school care to children in Bowling Green, Ky. Located in the housing authority district, most of the children who attend come from low-income families. Jkeyah Patterson, a recreation assistant for the community center, says, “Over here, it’s low income, so they are going to appreciate more.”

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
As a photojournalism student, I eventually realized that despite my shy nature I could talk to anyone as long as I had my camera in hand. It was like my super power, and I loved it. Not only did I get to meet new people on a daily basis for my assignments, but I also got to capture the raw emotion of moments in their lives.

On the day I took this photo outside the Parker Bennett Community Center, I had been tasked with finding a story for my Picture Stories class. I was photographing these kids all hanging out on the jungle gym, not feeling like I was making much progress, and then all of a sudden they turned. A sea of faces glanced in unison at something happening behind me. I am still not sure what they were looking at because I was jumping into action. I started pressing down on the shutter and adjusting the composition as much as I could before the moment was over.

Although it did not turn out to be a perfect picture by any means, this photo represents a turning point in my relationship with photojournalism. I realized that not every moment had to be “loud” to have impact. The little in-between moments could be just as engaging, just as storytelling. More important, this photo reminded me that I could give people a voice by telling their story; that is what matters most.


Dalton Puckett

Buffalo, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, Citizenship and Social Justice minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, N.M.

Terry Key, right, is the founder of the Edgehill Bike Club in Nashville, Tennessee. After being forced to move to Edgehill by the East Nashville Flood of 2010, he quickly realized that the community needed change.

“When I first moved here, I took a kid a mile away to a park (he’d never been there before). He was 13 years old. I was like ‘Man! You ain’t never been out the neighborhood?'” Key knew what the kid was talking about though. “I was that kid that could never get out of that damn neighborhood. Until I got me a bicycle.”

Key wants to do more than just give kids bikes. He wants to give them something to feel good about. “If you can make a kid smile, you can make a kid to be a friend,” Key said. He is making the kind of difference in the community that he knew he could.


ABOUT THIS PHOTO
This image was a part of my very first story in my PJ 334 Picture Stories class. Our first assignment was particularly challenging because we only had a week to complete it. This image is important to me not only because I was able to spend time with Terry and Abde, but it also showed me that I could rally under an unexpected crunch for time and capture a story that was meaningful.


Lydia Schweickart

Louisville, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, Sociology minor

Rachael practices her pole dancing routine at home in preparation for an upcoming competition in Myrtle Beach, Fla. On Rachael’s nights off from work, she stays home and takes care of her son Gabriel. Her shifts at Tattle Tale’s Gentleman’s Club start at 6:00 p.m. and end at 2:00 a.m. Rachael’s fiancee has expressed his disapproval of Rachael working at a club, and he is expecting her to quit soon after her pole dancing competition. Rachael explained that even though she will be quitting at the club, she will never stop pole dancing because she enjoys it too much.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
This photo was made up of a lot of firsts for me. It was part of my first ever photo story. It was the first time I went to a subject’s house. And it was the first time I had a subject truly allow me in to her life and trust me. It was this photo story that made me realize I never wanted to take that trust for granted. It was this photo story that helped shape my outlook on photojournalism for my next three years at WKU.

Having Rachael be so open with me made me realize the importance of being a human being first and a photographer second. All of my successes at WKU have been because of the people around me: my subjects, my professors and my peers. The most important thing I’ve learned in the photojournalism program is that talent in this profession means nothing If you aren’t a good person, a compassionate person and an empathetic person.


Chase Sheehan

Lexington, South Carolina | Photojournalism major, Communication Studies minor

Jimmy Thomas watches as his cousin and caretaker, Dana Thomas, scoops rocks into a small sinkhole on his farm. Jimmy Thomas has cerebral palsy and needs help doing daily maintenance on his property, where he has about 40-head of cattle.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
This image represents the moment that journalism came together for me. I met the Thomas’s before my last semester of college and was drawn to their story. After spending several weeks with them, I started to understand what it meant to dig deeper.

The moment seen in this photo made me realize that I was capable of showing the magnitude of relationships between people. When I saw the image on my computer later that day, I felt like I had really captured the essence of their story, a family that was willing to do anything for each other.


Megan Strassweg

Louisville, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, Entrepreneurship minor

John Raleigh, 37, has been a bartender for 15 years. He found his home at Mo’s House in Evansville, Ind., after 12 years at the same college dive bar. He needed a change and has been at Mo’s since its opening in 2017.

“The older I got, the more I learned about the creativity and craftsmanship,” Raleigh said. “I’m able to use my college degree in art behind the bar, not only in the preparation of cocktails but by having a direct effect on an entire experience. Music, lighting and presentation are all important to me.”

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
After a few semesters of going through the Photojournalism program, I was having trouble finding my niche. Then I started PJ 333, our studio lighting class, and within a few weeks I figured out what I really wanted to do with my photography. Portraits came easy to me, and I loved working with different subjects and being able to show them the finished product.

The way John spoke about his bartending career and how he felt about it inspired me to continue my ventures in photography. I had multiple moments where I didn’t feel like I was succeeding and wanted to quit, but thinking back on the conversation I had with John gave me the confidence to keep going.

Looking back on that 2:00 a.m. shoot with John at Mo’s House, I’m happy that I continued in my studies and stuck with it no matter how many times I wanted to give up. Every portrait I’ve made represents a moment that I was able to capture with my camera and share with the people around me. Without those moments, I would be a different person.


Katie Stratman

Covington, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, Digital Advertising minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • National Senior Games, Albuquerque, N.M

Taveion Hollingsworth celebrates after taking the lead over Arkansas in overtime. Western Kentucky University triumphed over the previously undefeated Arkansas team 86-79 on December 7, 2019, in E.A. Diddle Arena.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
I started working with the WKU Athletic Department my sophomore year of college. Basketball season at Western is definitely one of my favorites. The atmosphere in Diddle Arena is special, especially when playing an SEC opponent like Arkansas, which was undefeated until the team came to Bowling Green.

I remember walking into the stadium that night a little nervous but very much excited to see how the game was going to unfold. This picture was taken in overtime and it enabled Western to take and keep the lead. I was sitting the furthest away from the basket, trying to capture the emotion on Hollingsworth’s face over everybody in front of me. My heart and mind were racing a mile a minute throughout the entire game.

I love to capture the reaction shots in any game, as any expression can tell a story.


Silas Walker

Portland, Oregon | Photojournalism major, Digital Advertising minor

INTERNSHIPS

  • Lexington Herald-News, Lexington, Ky.
  • Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah

Malik Staples of the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers sprays water while celebrating a victory against the University of Alabama Birmingham Blazers on September 28, 2019, at Houchens L. T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Hilltoppers and Blazers went back and forth, tying the game in the third quarter, but the Hilltoppers were able to stop the Blazers and add a touchdown in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Hilltoppers went on to have an 8-4 season and win the 2019 First Responder Bowl game against the Western Michigan Broncos.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
I was working the WKU vs. UAB football game for Getty Images. It had been a long night, with both teams scoring back and forth. When WKU finally took the lead in the fourth quarter, I could tell the team was going to go crazy, so I rushed to put myself in front of the student section where I knew they would run to celebrate. The team did rush over and celebrate. I saw some players grabbing the opposing team’s water bottles and start spraying water everywhere, so I just started making pictures.

When I looked at this image while running back to the workroom, I was so happy one image worked out from the celebration. This image really helped my confidence because I had known where the right place was, when the right time was and I was prepared to document the moment.


Hayley Watson

Louisville, Kentucky | Photojournalism major, Digital Advertising minor

Alexis Watkins, a Western Kentucky University student from Louisville, Ky., is a student leader for the university’s Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) Academy. ISEC is a Western Kentucky University initiative/program to assist students who identify as students of color, and/or who are first-generation college students, Pell Grant eligible and have some need for assistance with their transition, persistence and graduation from Western Kentucky University. Watkins credited the academy for playing such a huge role in her college experience thus far.

ABOUT THIS PHOTO
This photo was the first time that I learned that you can make studio-quality photos outside of the studio. It was the first time that the power of a quiet moment and nice lighting really clicked for me.

Due to the nature of the lighting assignment we were given – show up at DSU and there will be a 5-10-minute time limit with each student who comes to you – I wasn’t really able to “research” my character or the idea before we began shooting, so I showed up knowing that I was going to have to be personable and likable if I wanted to take a photo that shared the essence of who Alexis was.

During our photo session, I asked her if she had brought anything that was special to her, and that’s when she pulled out her rosary beads and we started talking about faith and belief systems. I went in thinking this was an assignment only teaching me how to use camera lighting equipment, but in actuality I left feeling more confident as a photojournalist.

How long has it been?

On March 11, 2020 at 2:09 PM WKU President Tim Caboni sent out an email outlining this university’s COVID-19 response plan, altering our lives forever – or at the very least, for a very long time. The letter in part stated, “As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves, WKU continues to monitor aggressively the situation as it unfolds. We have for weeks been holding extensive internal discussions and developing a wide range of contingency plans to make preparations that best protect our WKU Community and also the broader communities in which we live. It is now necessary to activate a portion of those plans.”

Something we know many are asking themselves right now is how long have we been in quarantine? Using this date as the beginning of our battle with this pandemic, we started this count-up clock. Let’s all try to stop this clock from counting up and follow CDC guidelines – social distance, or as we like to call it, physical distance, and help your neighbors anyway that you can.

Eleven years later and still waiting for answers

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2019, 8.29 A.M. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – The sun has a hard time getting through the curtains in Karr's apartment in The Highlands, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Her eyes are sensitive to light, so there is a purpose for the darkness. She walks around the kitchen, feeding her service dog, Blaze, and gets dressed in a flat cap, shirt and pants, leaving her joggers in the bedroom. She needs to move on after a rough night, she explains. The sheets were messy when she woke up. Blaze was laying on her chest; he does this to stop her night terrors. The anxiety returned when she placed her head on the pillow last night. She found no peace.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2019, 8.29 A.M. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – The sun has a hard time getting through the curtains in Karr’s apartment in The Highlands, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Her eyes are sensitive to light, so there is a purpose for the darkness. She walks around the kitchen, feeding her service dog, Blaze, and gets dressed in a flat cap, shirt and pants, leaving her joggers in the bedroom. She needs to move on after a rough night, she explains. The sheets were messy when she woke up. Blaze was laying on her chest; he does this to stop her night terrors. The anxiety returned when she placed her head on the pillow last night. She found no peace.

 

A Wounded Soldier

WKU Journalism and Photojournalism students, Sara Krog and Sofie Mortensen tell the story of Veteran Megan Karr who suffers PTSD caused by her experience of sexual assault by two colleagues, while serving in the military.

“After the incident I changed, not necessarily for the better, but for the worse. I struggle a lot, and that struggle has been tough, especially for the people who knew me before. I guess this is what affected my family situation.”

SEE THE COMPLETE STORY

 

Through Our Eyes Week 3!

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

(Left) Self-portrait in a wedding dress (Right) First day of hunting season. | Morgan Hornsby

 

Second Place

David Curran is a firefighter with the Bowling Green Fire Department. | Nic Huey

 

Third Place

Nick Richards #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats jumps to score over Keyontae Johnson #11 of the Florida Gatos during the first half of the game at Rupp Arena on February 22, 2020 in Lexington, Ky. | Silas Walker

Through Our Eyes Week 2!

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk (72) keeps his eyes on the face-off circle against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on February 16, 2020. Nashville won 2-1. | Chris Kohley

Second Place

Jack Quinn, a freshman at WKU, grew up with music as a large influence in his family. Quinn is currently in two bands whilst pursuing a degree in graphic design and journalism. | Sam Mallon

Third Place

Sabre Semrau is a Junior at Western Kentucky University who co-founded the art collective Deep Relief Designs. Semrau works in varying mediums, including embroidery and collage. Semrau has recently started working with Resin, producing a variety of ashtrays, rolling trays, and plans to start making coasters. “I won’t lie, the resin is expensive as shit but I also have more issues with charging friends for my art since I don’t believe in capitalism,” Semrau explained. | Lydia Schweickart

Through Our Eyes Week 1

Below are some of our favorite photos from this week’s Through Our Eyes. Each week the selections are chosen by WKUPJ students. Stay tuned for more to come!

First Place

Dixie Mahurin has worked at WKU for over three decades. She taught mathematics before transitioning to academic advising. Growing up in Hopkinsville, Ky., Mrs. Dixie, as her students call her, remembers classmates dropping out of school to go to Vietnam, being the only woman in her mathematics classes and witnessing the American political climate cleave. From fashion to politics, there isn’t much Mrs. Dixie doesn’t have an opinion on. Her colleagues say her eccentricity makes the office as fun as it is. Mrs. Dixie’s passion for her students’ success can be felt in her words and seen in her actions. One example is the names of straight A students scrawled in chalk on her office wall. “Maintenance had a fit,” Mrs. Dixie said. “It isn’t a chalkboard. It won’t come off, but I just couldn’t stand that black wall.” | Reed Mattison 

Second Place

Mamadi Diakite (25) of the Virginia Cavaliers dunks the ball against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half of the game at KFC YUM! Center on February 08, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville defeated Virginia 80-73 for the first time in since 2015. | Silas Walker

Third Place

Hoda Amira is originally from Palestine and is a Nursing major at WKU. Amira is pictured wearing Palestinian cultural wear, commonly worn for special occasions, with a pattern that represents Palestinian nationalism. Amira wears a headscarf every day and when asked about her experiences with discrimination explained, “On campus, I haven’t noticed a lot of instances other than the usual stares. Some people might have some misunderstandings or they might have misconceptions before speaking to me. That’s the only thing I wish people would open up about is to ask questions rather than assume.” Amira is a member of the Muslim Student Association and expressed an appreciation for the sense of community that the organization provides. “On campus, I feel like all of us have an understanding of each other, so we never have that miscommunication or misunderstanding,” Amira explained. “We just try to convey a message to everybody else that we are just normal people. The whole point of the MSA is to show people what Muslims are really about.” | Lydia Schweickart

Honorable Mention

When Keith or Everett gets sick, it’s just them, Keith said. The two in their rough shape laze on the couch as they try to recover from colds. “Whenever I have a bad day, he knows how to help,” Keith said. | Reed Mattison

We Can Do Hard Things – by Emma Steele

We Can Do Hard Things

by Emma Steele

To view the entire story visit: We Can Do Hard Things

“You’ll never get over it. You don’t want to,” Davidson said. “It changes you.”

Randall Davidson brings roses to his wife Megan’s grave every Sunday. “Roses symbolize love,” Davidson said.

“There’s a part of me that hasn’t accepted it,” Davidson said. Randy has been left to raise their 8-year-old son, Drew, while still living with the grief of losing the love of his life.

Megan died on July 27th, 2019 from a fatal car accident. Her death affected the lives of all 1,000 people who showed up to her funeral service. Megan was a wife, mother, nurse, church minister, and athlete, and was loved by everyone she met.

Randall Davidson lost his wife, Megan, on July 27th 2019 in a fatal car accident. Every Sunday Randall brings flowers to Megans grave in Tompkinsville. “You’ll never get over it”, Davidson said, “You don’t want to.”

Drew taking a break from his video game to look at pictures of him and his mom. “Every time Megan was on the couch trying to relax, Drew would always jump up on her and try to get her attention. He loves his mom,” Davidson said.

Every night, Randy reads bedtime stories and says prayers with Drew. “He’s the reason I’m still breathing,” Davidson said.

Family Values – A look at the roll of a midwife in Kentucky.

Family Values – A look at the roll of a midwife in Kentucky.

Story by Lily Thompson,

To view the entire story visit: Family Values

Tracey Moore is a midwife, and so much more.

With kind eyes and a mother’s touch, Tracey catches babies around the western and central regions of Kentucky. She is on call 24/7, 52 weeks a year. She’s a home birth midwife, one of few in the state. Tracey helps women of all kinds, she wants each and every woman to feel respected and loved through one of the most sacred moments of their life.

Tracey checks “baby noodle’s” heartbeat in Rosie Hunt’s belly. The couple didn’t pick a name for their baby until after the birth and lovingly referred to the baby as “baby noodle.”

June Hunt was born at 7:13 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2019 to Rosie and Alex Hunt. June was born on the same couch her older sister was born a couple of years before.

Tracey leans on her husband for comfort after telling him about a complicated and upsetting birth she had attended hours before. She had to leave the house early in the morning to attend to the birth, and missed church and an outing with her family due to midwifery commitments. “For us, faith in christ has been the solid rock we’ve needed, because it’s not been always been easy,” David said. “That faith has helped us have grace. When couples have hard times, they can either break or build together. Midwifery has shown us in our hearts where we were at with each other and challenged us to be better in Christ.”

The Wrongful Imprisonment of Jose Luis Garcia

The Wrongful Imprisonment of
Jose Luis Garcia

Story by Gabriel Scarlett and Skyler Ballard

Residing in in the Unites States for 50 years and a current green card holder, Jose Luis Garcia was arrested by ICE as part of a new Trump administration policy targeting legal and illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. The policy put in place to deport gang members ended up arresting people like 62-year-old Garcia who had a minor infraction 17 years ago.
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Jose watches fireworks from his rooftop on July 4th. For weeks after his imprisonment, he suffered from nightmares and sleepless nights. But he remains positive and says that achieving his full citizenship is his number one priority. “I will continue to do the right things with my family and I will become a U.S. citizen in no time.”

 

More than a week after the arrest of her father Jose (who is a green card holder), Natalie Garcia tries to console her daughter Marley outside their home in Arleta, California from which Jose was taken. He had been watering his lawn and preparing for a shift driving for Uber, one of his three jobs, when ICE officials detained him for deportation for a charge from two decades ago. Since his arrest, Marley has slept in his bed and lays out his clothes each day to pretend that he is there.