Sincerely, Michaela | Dear Senior Portrait Series
I am really excited to begin my Dear Senior project, and I’m just as excited that my sister is my first feature. Over the years I’ve probably photographed her more than anyone else.
Michaela graduated from Concordia in 2015 after spending four years participating in the drama program as a performer and stage manager, and in the marching band as a saxophone player and drum major. Now she’s finishing her junior year as a psychology major at Cedarville University. She’s Vice President of the student psychology organization and a campus tour guide. She plays bassoon in the university band and saxophone in the church praise band.
We did Michaela’s photo session in the parking lot of Concordia High School, in the area where the marching band practices throughout the fall season. We also did a few shots at the nearby Firefly Coffee House, which is Michaela’s favorite coffee shop (so far), and a place where she would often hang out with friends between after-school activities.
Michaela appreciates the experiences she had in high school, and especially the mentors who encouraged her to step into leadership roles. She remembers growing up and not quite fitting in with her peers, and also being a lot taller than many of them. When she was in 8th grade, the drama director at the high school asked her to be stage manager for the high school’s spring musical.
“Looking back, that was a huge leap of faith for us both,” Michaela says, “but it turned out that not fitting in made leadership that much easier.”
She later became the drum major for the marching band, and remembers that the band director encouraged her to be confident and stand up for what was right.
After high school, Michaela worked as a lifeguard for an inner city YMCA where she was one of three Caucasian employees. “It seems like people pay more attention to you when you don’t quite fit their mold of what they think you should be, but it gave me an awesome opportunity to minister to these kids,” she says. She later moved on to camp ministry, working as a counselor and program coordinator at Camp Lutherhaven. After college, Michaela wants to pursue some sort of “helping profession” and plans to use her career as a ministry opportunity.
“Recognize which relationships you will keep up and which you won’t. Be realistic but not pessimistic. You and your peers’ lives will change dramatically in the coming years and they should. Just because friendships don’t last past the circumstances in which they existed doesn’t make them any less meaningful.
“You’re so young. What you’ve worked for and achieved in high school is great, but you have so much ahead of you. Make sure your worth is in your Creator and not in the trophies you’ve earned, because come graduation none of it matters.
“Walking out of CLHS for the last time as a student was bittersweet, but I’m loving my time at college. The memories of high school will be sweet for your lifetime, but be sure you don’t hang on too tightly.”
Concordia High School Class of 2015