BY ANGELA MATUA
John F. Kennedy International Airport became an art gallery for some South Ozone Park students who showcased their photographs in the airport’s Terminal 4.
A collection of photographs, taken by eighth-graders from Virgil I. Grissom Middle School (J.H.S. 226) last year, was unveiled on April 29 and will hang near the arrivals hall of the terminal.
Principal Rushell White said the objective of the project was to engage students in the college and career readiness aspect of the Common Core standards.
“It’s important for my students to be able to engage in the arts, which pique their interests, so that we can help them to make connections to their academic studies,” White said. “It feels amazing to have my students’ work displayed. There are many talented and gifted students who are just awaiting opportunities to showcase their gifts.”
The school partnered with JFKIAT, the company that operates Terminal 4, to provide students with space to highlight their photographs.
The students took photographs within a two-block radius of the Ozone Park school. They were advised by professional photographer Jeffrey Gamble to take photographs that would encourage the exploration of nature growing around them.
“Nature is all around us,” said Jeffrey Gamble. “It’s just the matter of training one’s eyes to see it. The question is to ask ourselves, ‘How can photography be used as a tool and a medium to enlighten these earthly creations and our new appreciation for them?’”
Student Marieya Jagroop took a picture of “a lovely pink flower [that] was heavily focused and contrasted very well with the sunlight,” she said.
“I felt very proud to have my picture displayed at JFK because I got recognition in a very unexpected way,” Jagroop said. “I got to experience things no other 13-year-old gets to. I got to see the beauty in the smallest things, which makes me appreciate the world we live in.”
Her classmate Miko Hamilton chose to shoot a leaf changing colors from yellow to green.
Hamilton said he learned about taking photographs from different angels and how to edit them. Though he has no aspirations to become a professional photographer, he will always take photos as a hobby, he said.
Jagroop and Hamilton both said they saw the value of hard work pay off after realizing the recognition they received.
“I never thought I’d see my own picture plastered in an international airport for thousands of people to see,” Jagroop said. It’s been a year and my photography pictures have come back and they reflect who I am, so I definitely see this as a future internship or a side job.”