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

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