Jump to main content

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School

Lincoln Park student wins first place in ‘Expressions of Courage’ photography contest

November 10, 2016

Estelle Petties and LPPACS student Dillon Murphy

Estelle Petties and LPPACS student Dillon Murphy

LPPACS Media majors Cheyenne Piper and Kelsey Belwey

LPPACS Media majors Cheyenne Piper and Kelsey Belwey

Senior media student Dillon Murphy won the top prize in a black-and-white photography competition that celebrates the courage of individuals with chronic illness or disability.

Dillon's photo, "Survivor Pt. 1" took first place in the annual "Expressions of Courage" competition, sponsored by Arts and Education at the Hoyt Center for the Arts.

Media student Evan Zawatski won third place for his photo, "A Brave Heart," and media majors Cheyenne Piper and Kelsey Belwey, both sophomores, had their photos — "Mail Boy," and "Empty Seat," respectively — selected for exceptional merit, an additional category added in the competition.

The students were presented with awards at a reception Nov. 10 at The Confluence in New Castle.

The "Expressions of Courage" competition was open to photographers of any age or skill level. Photos were to depict an individual facing, caring for or treating a chronic illness or disability, and accompanied by a brief explanation of the featured individual's challenges. Among the criteria judges look for in awarding prizes is the quality of the photograph and ability of the image to convey a narrative.

Dillon said he was inspired to take photos of Estelle Petties, an employee of LPPACS, who works in Alumni Hall, because she suffered a stroke and faced it alone.

"Kids that do this project, they take pictures of people that are in a relationship, or with their grandparents," Dillon said. "But Mrs. Petties was by herself and to me that took a lot of courage to overcome that. When you're all alone and have no family, I think that's more courageous than her coming through the stroke itself. The fact that she was all alone."

Petties said she is proud of Dillon, whose winning photo "Survivor Pt. 1" captured her in a natural state that wasn't posed.

"He could have picked anybody, but he selected me," said Petties, who also attended the reception.

Kimberly Koller-Jones, Hoyt's executive director, said she came up with the idea of an Expressions of Courage photography exhibit that would illustrate those everyday individuals and stories — members of our families, neighbors, co-workers, and friends — whose strength of character inspire us despite what might seem like incredible odds. Portraits seemed to be the most natural way to put a face on disease, illness or injury, she said.

"While some people might think of such an exhibition as depressing, I've always viewed it as an illustration of hope, love, charity and all the positive characteristics of our humanity," Koller-Jones said. "We all face darkness in our lives at one time or another, and we look to others to heal. These stories provide examples of how we can and do find ways to overcome and accept the shared experience of life."

About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School:
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School (www.lppacs.org) is a Pennsylvania public school providing a state-approved academic program and pre-professional training for grades 7-12 in music, theater, dance, creative writing, health science arts and media arts. The school enrolls students from more than 65 surrounding school districts.

About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School (www.lppacs.org) is a Pennsylvania public school providing a state-approved academic program and pre-professional training for grades 7-12 in music, theater, dance, creative writing, health science arts and media arts. The school enrolls students from more than 65 surrounding school districts.

Media Contact: Fred Miller, communications coordinator, fred.miller@nndsonline.org