Photography students get hands-on experience

Meet with Verizon reps on apps project


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SPARTA — In June, students from Sparta High School photography classes, along with their photography teacher Christine Mase, had the opportunity meet with Shankar Arumugavelu, the Chief Information Officer of Verizon Wireless, as well as members of the finance organization at the Verizon Wireless office building in Warren, New Jersey.

Mase gave her photography class an assignment using only their cell phones called “A Day in the Life of Me.”

The students developed photo collages using contemporary phone applications that were mounted and displayed throughout the Verizon Wireless building. This exhibit was part of the “Top Dog” building beautification project to bring culture to the workplace and show how students are using cellular technology creatively in the classroom. It was also a good opportunity for the students to publicly display their work.

Danielle Dykstra, a Verizon Wireless employee, is also a trustee for the Sparta Education Foundation, which has donated over $500,000 in grants to the Sparta School District.

The Sparta Education Foundation funded a grant, submitted by Mase and fellow art teacher Christy Graham, for a large format printer for the photography department. It is used by the students to print display-sized high quality photos for both exhibits and their portfolios.

Tying this all together, for her volunteer hours with the Sparta Education Foundation, the Verizon Foundation matched dollars for Dykstra’s volunteer hours.

Having this photography display in a Verizon Wireless building completes the circle.

At the meeting, Alia Flanigan and Jenni Kurz gave an overview of their art work with Arumugavelu. Mase reviewed how she integrates and applies cellular technology in the digital classroom. This was followed by an engaging discussion on what teenagers use their smartphones for the most.

Surprisingly, the first answer was directions, followed by social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

Arumugavelu also asked them what they would like to see their cell phones do in the future. Battery life was something they would like to see improved. The students came into the meeting not really sure what to expect. They were impressed with how interested Arumugavelu was in their projects and in what they had to say.

The exhibit was a partnership between Verizon Wireless and the Sparta High School photography class.

Everyone left the meeting looking forward to doing it again next year.




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