Service-learning project benefits students, community

Nov 18, 2011 | General News, Liberal Arts

If it takes a village to raise a child, then perhaps Louisiana Tech, along with the North Central Louisiana Arts Council and Arcadia High School, have succeeded. Four graduate students and one undergraduate student from Tech, led by Jes Schrom, an assistant professor of photography, worked with NCLAC to teach a photojournalism course for students at Arcadia High School this quarter. The program, called My Vision, My Voice, helped the students use photojournalism to strengthen their writing, research and literacy skills. “I think that for the time that we were able to spend with the students in Arcadia, the project went very well,” Schrom said. “My students learned how to take their knowledge of photography and break it down into easily digestible steps, focusing not only on the technical aspects, but the drive and inspiration of artists to tell stories. The Arcadia students responded to both aspects of the curriculum, spending time learning the various functions of their cameras while also photographing their family, friends and community with abandon.” Schrom said she saw the students – collegiate and high school – inspire each other. “I saw my students regain their passion for photography,” she said. “They saw the eagerness and excitement within the Arcadia students and were reminded why they started doing this in the first place. The Arcadia students gained a sense of accomplishment by completing a new task and were able to discuss their images in a more mature and thoughtful way. They also began to think about their own stories and what they want to tell others about their lives.” Schrom said she is always looking for service-learning projects for her students to engage and hopes that a future partnership with NCLAC will come up again. “I believe it strengthens our communities and the way in which our students learn,” she said. “I would also be open to teaching it myself, but I think the benefit is greater when there is a mentorship relationship between students in higher education and students in K – 12.” The five students who worked on the project were graduate students Caleb Clark of Ruston; Jaime Johnson of Poplarville, Miss.; Ashley Feagin of Westlake; Dan Snow of Springdale, Ark.; and undergraduate Dacia Idom of Lake Charles.