It seems like only yesterday I walked in Fresno Christian’s convocation for my first day of high school. New faces surrounded me as they introduced their names to ask who I was. Little did I know these people would become my lifelong friends. Before I could even sit down, I realized a whole new world of opportunities awaited me in high school.
Volleyball and basketball quickly became a significant part of my life, as I joined both teams my freshman year. Not only did they act as an outlet for me to stay active, but also a chance to connect with new friends.
Although the 2015-16 school year proved to be a success, I was itching for a new challenge. Ahead of me awaited The Feather photojournalism team and much more.
My sophomore year became a busy and strenuous two semesters filled with various school activities, sports and academic classes.
Looking back upon my first few months, and even year, as a photojournalist, I can see significant growth. Growth not only in photography and writing, but a change in my personal character as well. It was a difficult learning process my first few months on the team, but my second year it really clicked. Photography became a passion rather than work.
Photojournalism means photographing and writing about every event, activity and news-worthy story happening around student life. These categories apply to the daily FC happenings, but also in the community.
While capturing an array of situations, possibilities became endless. I soon made it a challenge to find a new perspective to shoot wherever I went. Sporting the title of ‘photojournalist’ meant I had to find the story through my lens and carry that story to the image. I not only wanted to photograph a stellar photo, I wanted it to mean something to viewers.
I was able to reflect upon key features that my role on The Feather allowed me to experience through teaching at the NSPA Spring Conference. Alongside my adviser Kori Friesen and fellow photojournalism senior editor Kaylie Clem, we taught two sessions. We were able to share tricks we have learned over the last three years with session-attendees in our two topics: ‘Image as a Hook’ and ‘Enhance the Gram’.
My high school memories are full of Feather trips and adventures with my teammates. These joy-filled times have allowed me to connect and grow friendships within the team. Consecutive trips to New York City for the CSPA Spring Conference instantly became one my fondest memories in high school. They allowed me to grow in photography outside of a high school classroom and bond with my fellow peers.
One teammate in particular that became one of my best friends is Kaylie Clem. No matter the task, I could always count on her for help and guidance. Without her as my photo sister, I would not have been able to accomplish three years of photojournalism. I am beyond grateful and blessed to have a partner like her beside me 24/7 and willing to go through anything to help.
Throughout school and Feather trips, the two of us always paired up to cover the event together. Having a person like her to rely on and work with has helped build my confidence as well as my skills to work with other people. Instances like these remind me of our New York trips for CSPA.
Capturing NYC has to be one of my favorite experiences while on the team. The chance to capture the 9/11 monument and tell it’s story was truly a touching moment. While in NY, I not only learned how to work well with others and bond with my team, I also broadened my style of photography to things such as landscape (Rockefeller skyscraper view in slideshow) and urban (Times Square photograph in slide show).
Walking into the journalism lab to face adviser Greg Stobbe’s comments and corrections filled me with fear each time. Looking back now on all the constructive criticism, I see the passion and love Stobbe had behind every lesson he gave. The amount of time and devotion he spent cannot be put into words for how much it meant and means to me. Stobbe has become one of my biggest inspirations in my life. He has brought drive and passion into me and a sense of confidence in myself that I would never have obtained in any other classroom.
As the end of my senior year approached, I realized all the incredible things Stobbe had to offer not only through writing in journalism, but also wisdom through college and life. I will never forget the advice he has given me and I will carry it with me through the rest of my life. Thank you Stobbe, for not only being one of the best teachers and advisers I have had, but also an amazing mentor that I will always look up to.
The fast pace world of a photojournalist soon became very familiar to me as my adviser Friesen trained and equipped me to be professional from the very start. “The ability to freeze time”, will always be one of my favorite quotes from Friesen. I can not help but fill the urge to continue taking in and learning everything she does. The amount of drive and passion Friesen has shown through her work as a teacher and photographer has truly been an inspiration to me on The Feather and in my own career as a photographer.
Without Friesen, I would never have become the person I am today. One thing that I have taken away from my years spent as one of her students is her genuine heart. She has become one of my mentors that will always be there for me and I look forward to coming back from college and meeting with her.
Thank you Kori for pouring your heart into me and teaching me everything I know. I am beyond thankful for the opportunities I was provided and can not wait to apply them into my future career.
As I leave high school and my role as a photojournalism editor on the team, I see the growth and change these past years have brought me. The platform The Feather has built me is now a launching pad for college and my future career. For anyone considering engaging in The Feather or any school activities, I would recommend doing as much as possible. High school is over in the blink of an eye and can be an enriching experience if taken advantage of.
I would like to thank all of my teachers for stretching me to do my best, my parents for constant support and encouragement, my siblings for always willing to help, and all my friends who have carried me through high school. Fresno Christian has provided opportunities that will last a lifetime and will never be forgotten. Memories made here will always remain some of the best.
Julia Fikse will be attending California Baptist University in the fall and plans on majoring in interior design.
For more articles, read High school summer internships aid student career choices or Track finishes season, breaks multiple school records.
For more Feather photos, visit media, photos 2018-19.
Slideshow images below show photos of Julia Fikse’s high school photojournalism experience and different editing techniques.
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