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Extraordinary photography

Passion, perfection seen in images taken by Marquette Alternative High School students

December 14, 2011
The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Flip through the Marquette Alternative High School photography class's 2012 calendar, and you'll see some beautiful photographs of Lake Superior, the breakwater, Presque Isle.

But look a little closer and you can see something else: the passion the MAHS student photographers have for their chosen form of art.

"They put a piece of themselves in these pictures and they get to share that with others (through this calendar)," said Cindy DePetro, one of two photography class teachers.

Article Photos

A example of images taken by students at the Marquette Alternative High School. Students package these and other images in a calendar they sell as a class fundraiser.

Students in the class have compiled the best of the best of photographs taken throughout the year and used them to make a 2012 calendar, which they are selling for $20.

"We all get to work together," said 16-year-old junior Sophia Novak. "Even if your pictures don't get in there, (the calendar represents) the idea of the class and this school."

Novak said, for her, photography is a way to capture the feeling of any given moment.

"You can look at a picture and not only see beauty, but see a memory," she said. "I think that is the coolest thing ever, looking at a photo and remembering the time you took it."

Jessica Touchinski, a 17-year-old senior in the class, finds inspiration in the many waterfalls in and around the area.

"All the pictures I take are of falls," she said. "There's falls right near my house. There's just something about them that's eye-catching."

The fact that all the pictures featured in the 2012 calendar were taken in Marquette County is one that holds significance for the entire class.

"We have, in this area, the greatest natural resources," said DePetro. "We don't have to travel far. The kids, they didn't even ask to put in pictures from outside (the area)... We have an amazing amount of pride in Marquette."

That pride, for Marquette and for themselves, can be seen on the faces of the students as they talk about their photographs.

"You look at pictures in the store, and you say, 'Oh, that's cute,'" Touchinski said. "But these are our pictures."

And though the students are excited about the calendar because it showcases their talent as photographers, DePetro said the class can also teach the kids how to succeed as adults.

"To take a picture just to take a picture is such a surface level reason," DePetro said. "To find a way to share their talent, is, to me, the ultimate lesson. ... They're using real-world applications... One of the greatest lessons, business-wise, is making it happen."

Profits from the sale of the calendars will go toward a class trip to the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island. The trip would take place over one day, giving students the opportunity to photograph the bridge during the day and at night.

"Being able to do that would be a really awesome experience for people in this class," Novak said.

Copies of each photograph in the calendar are also for sale, starting from $5. Canvas prints are available as well.

DePetro said the calendars make a great gift for family members who no longer live in the area, or local soldiers who may be stationed overseas or elsewhere for the holiday season.

Much of the funding for the class comes in the form of grants, specifically through Excellence in Education and the Marquette Area Public Schools Education Foundation.

"We're so thankful to the community we live in," DePetro said. "You can get the ugliest calendars for $25, $30. We wanted to keep ours affordable. We're cognizant of the economic times and we're thankful for everything we get."

Calendars or prints can be purchased by emailing DePetro at or Technology Director Craig Lindstrom at

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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