Four local photographers (clockwise, from upper left - Tara Zaal, Crystal Chowdhury, Karen McKinnon, and Ali Roddam) have come together to create something special for grads. Photos supplied.

Four local photographers (clockwise, from upper left - Tara Zaal, Crystal Chowdhury, Karen McKinnon, and Ali Roddam) have come together to create something special for grads. Photos supplied.

Comox Valley photographers collaborate to create special bursary for a 2020 graduate

High school graduates won’t have the end to the school years that they had imagined.

No final sports games, band concerts or trips, camping trips with friends, bursary evenings or hugs from teachers and of course no traditional grad ceremony and no opportunity to shine in the special outfit that might be hanging in their closet. It is a loss that the 2020 grads had not anticipated one beyond their control.

Four local photographers are bringing a little joy to these grads and helping them capture this milestone in their lives.

Ali Roddam, Crystal Chowdhury, Tara Zaal and Karen McKinnon had started connecting on zoom calls to provide support to each other as their businesses came to a halt due to COVID-19. As all four photographs are parents, it was a natural progression in these calls to talk about how COVID-19 was impacting their children.

“Karen’s daughter is graduating from high school, and as we learned about what it was like for her, we realized that we had something meaningful to offer, that would also help us rebuild our businesses,” explained Roddam.

All four photographers typically photograph grads and decided that if they presented something as a team, they would have the ability to offer reduced prices and create an impactful give back to the community.

“We have reduced our rates for these sessions, and we have created a bursary in honouring Grad 2020,” said McKinnon. “We wanted to acknowledge the challenges these grads are facing. Beyond not having the celebration they have worked hard for, there is a lot of uncertainty for their future.”

Partial proceeds from the grad sessions will benefit a bursary they have created for a local 2020 grad who is pursuing arts post-secondary education in 2020 or 2021. The bursary is being distributed by SD71.

The limited-edition grad sessions must be booked by the end of June but can happen anytime this summer. Grads can choose where and how they want to be photographed. Grad sessions are about celebrating who that grad is now. For example, grads can wear a fancy grad outfit at their favourite beach or maybe they want to grab their basketball and be photographed at the court in casual clothing.

“All of us get excited about the opportunity to bring out each grad’s unique personality,” McKinnon said. “We want it to be an exceptional experience for them, and give them and their parents something special to help them remember this milestone at a unique time in history.”

For more information, please contact each photographer individually.

Tara Zaal of New Leaf Photography

Ali Roddam of Bella Photo

Crystal Clear of Crystal Clear Photography

and Karen McKinnon of McKinnon Photography

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels after found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read