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Two Students Share First Prize in Photo Essay Reporting Contest
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Madeleine Steele '18 and Emma Juvan '19 have shared first prize in the photography category in News-Decoder's fourth Reporting and Writing Contest.


Two Students Share First Prize in Photo Essay Reporting Contest

Two Westover students – Madeleine Steele '18 and Emma Juvan '19 – have shared first prize in the photography category in News-Decoder's fourth Reporting and Writing Contest. In addition to Madeleine and Emma, students at King's Academy in Jordan and La Jolla Country Day School and Thacher School in California won prizes in the contest.

A jury of three professionals selected the winners from among entries submitted by students at the 14 academic institutions in News-Decoder's global network. The contest, which offered $1,000 in prizes, was backed by a generous donor in honor of the late Arch Roberts, Jr. Both Madeleine and Emma each received a cash prize of $200 for their photo essays.

Both Madeleine's and Emma's photo essays were based on assignments they created in a digital photography class, Pixels with Purpose, that they were in during Westover's winter term. As noted in the Curriculum Guide, the course offered students the opportunity "to research a global, social, or political problem that they feel passionately about and create artwork in response to it."

Madeleine assembled a photo essay about the impact of overfishing on marine fish populations. "My hope with this particular series is to encourage everyone who sees it to make more sustainable purchases and to think more about his or her impact on the state of marine environments worldwide," Madeleine wrote.

Emma created a series of abstract photos that underscored her concern about global warming. She printed out maps of greenhouse emissions and global warming patterns, froze them in blocks of ice, then photographed them as they melted.

"I wanted to convey the idea of a changing landscape because of human interference," Emma wrote in her photo essay, "so I created small 'landscapes' of ice with charts of human destruction emerging from underneath and breaking the little landscapes."

Through its Rasin Center for Global Justice, Westover was one of the first schools to become a part of the News-Decoder's programs, which offers regularly scheduled webinars that focus on specific topics of interest. Westover's News-Decoder activities this year have been coordinated by Madeleine and by Heather Shi '18. Students from participating schools are invited to submit questions to discussion boards before the webinars, which are moderated by journalists who are experts on the subjects under discussion.

In December, Jaymee Hick, who was then an exchange student at Westover from Perth, Australia, was one of four winners of News-Decoder's third essay/reporting contest for her essay on gender equality. In April, Madeleine and Heather, along with students from Miss Porter's School, co-hosted and gave presentations for a News-Decoder webinar entitled "Women's Rights: A Global Reckoning."