A voice for teens of Sedalia


PhotoVoice project offers new student perspective

By Cameron Newbill - Smith-Cotton High School



Photo by Kyra Humphrey. Sedalia’s downtown has been around since the mid to late 1800s. At the time, downtown was alive with people going to theaters, bars and many other places it had offered. Now, downtown’s memorable buildings are deteriorating along with the history that is in each structure. Many of the buildings have been boarded up, the doors to the buildings padlocked, windows boarded up and the roof caving in. I really feel we should work together to take what has started to fall apart and return it to its former glory.


Photo by Kylee McPhail. I was out walking shooting some photography when I looked over and this man was walking down the street with a shopping cart full of cans. He takes this shopping cart with him where he walks and picks up cans around the community and recycles them. It made me wonder what Sedalia would look like if everyone went around and picked up trash and recycled it. We would definitely have a more inviting exterior and a cleaner environment for everyone living here. Often times when I’m out and see trash on the roads, in our parks, and parking lots I think of this man and what he was doing to better our community.


Photo by Ryan Collins. After many years of playing basketball, seeing a basketball hoop again actually within your reach is a tempting experience. Having it there by itself, surrounded by greenery, no blacktop to rest on for miles. This hoop has seen better days, of that I am certain. Proper care appears to have been administered to it a few times, but not very recently. Most prominently, the X-shaped patchwork nailed to the backboard resembles a cross from its tilted frame. I remember having many a night and day dedicated to running up those courts just to get that special point, but the game itself as an experience was the more recurring memory. The fact the hoop was even there at all fills me with associative wistfulness. I hope there can be a time where someone discovers this as I have before, and gives it another chance at life.


PhotoVoice project offers new student perspective

By Cameron Newbill

Smith-Cotton High School

Photo by Kyra Humphrey. Sedalia’s downtown has been around since the mid to late 1800s. At the time, downtown was alive with people going to theaters, bars and many other places it had offered. Now, downtown’s memorable buildings are deteriorating along with the history that is in each structure. Many of the buildings have been boarded up, the doors to the buildings padlocked, windows boarded up and the roof caving in. I really feel we should work together to take what has started to fall apart and return it to its former glory.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_PhotoVoice.KyraHumphrey.jpgPhoto by Kyra Humphrey. Sedalia’s downtown has been around since the mid to late 1800s. At the time, downtown was alive with people going to theaters, bars and many other places it had offered. Now, downtown’s memorable buildings are deteriorating along with the history that is in each structure. Many of the buildings have been boarded up, the doors to the buildings padlocked, windows boarded up and the roof caving in. I really feel we should work together to take what has started to fall apart and return it to its former glory.

Photo by Kylee McPhail. I was out walking shooting some photography when I looked over and this man was walking down the street with a shopping cart full of cans. He takes this shopping cart with him where he walks and picks up cans around the community and recycles them. It made me wonder what Sedalia would look like if everyone went around and picked up trash and recycled it. We would definitely have a more inviting exterior and a cleaner environment for everyone living here. Often times when I’m out and see trash on the roads, in our parks, and parking lots I think of this man and what he was doing to better our community.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_PhotoVoice.KyleeMcPhail.jpgPhoto by Kylee McPhail. I was out walking shooting some photography when I looked over and this man was walking down the street with a shopping cart full of cans. He takes this shopping cart with him where he walks and picks up cans around the community and recycles them. It made me wonder what Sedalia would look like if everyone went around and picked up trash and recycled it. We would definitely have a more inviting exterior and a cleaner environment for everyone living here. Often times when I’m out and see trash on the roads, in our parks, and parking lots I think of this man and what he was doing to better our community.

Photo by Ryan Collins. After many years of playing basketball, seeing a basketball hoop again actually within your reach is a tempting experience. Having it there by itself, surrounded by greenery, no blacktop to rest on for miles. This hoop has seen better days, of that I am certain. Proper care appears to have been administered to it a few times, but not very recently. Most prominently, the X-shaped patchwork nailed to the backboard resembles a cross from its tilted frame. I remember having many a night and day dedicated to running up those courts just to get that special point, but the game itself as an experience was the more recurring memory. The fact the hoop was even there at all fills me with associative wistfulness. I hope there can be a time where someone discovers this as I have before, and gives it another chance at life.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_PhotoVoice.RyanCollins.jpgPhoto by Ryan Collins. After many years of playing basketball, seeing a basketball hoop again actually within your reach is a tempting experience. Having it there by itself, surrounded by greenery, no blacktop to rest on for miles. This hoop has seen better days, of that I am certain. Proper care appears to have been administered to it a few times, but not very recently. Most prominently, the X-shaped patchwork nailed to the backboard resembles a cross from its tilted frame. I remember having many a night and day dedicated to running up those courts just to get that special point, but the game itself as an experience was the more recurring memory. The fact the hoop was even there at all fills me with associative wistfulness. I hope there can be a time where someone discovers this as I have before, and gives it another chance at life.

Smith-Cotton High School art students hope to raise awareness among local politicians to community concerns from a teenager’s point of view, with the goal of developing solutions.

The PhotoVoice project asks participants to share their perspective by taking photographs they then discuss, narrate and display.

Michael Shukers, Smith-Cotton High art teacher, was approached by JoAnn Martin of the Pettis County Health Center and a team of researchers at the University of Missouri about the concept of PhotoVoice. The project helps create a better understanding and awareness of issues youths face in Pettis County.

“(PhotoVoice) provides a way for teens of this community to voice their concerns over issues … from their point of view. The Pettis County Health Center wants to help highlight teen concerns and hopefully affect change,” Shukers said.

Haley Barnes, 17, is enrolled in Shukers’s Advanced Digital Arts and Photography class.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to show the community’s leaders and local politicians what needs improvement and what is going well,” Barnes said. She also said it will help students feel more involved in the community and more important because people are listening to what they have to say.

“I’m hoping to gain a voice for the teenagers of our community,” she said.

Shukers said initially students were lost and confused as to what imagery they should capture for this concept. After a couple lectures and several teacher/student conferences, students were more comfortable and focused. Students had the ability to travel around town and capture imagery.

“After discussing their photography as a whole, we narrowed their focus based on certain photographs that stood out among the rest,” Shukers said.

Martin learned about PhotoVoice from Jon Stemmle, a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. PhotoVoice relates to the Pettis County Health Center because it’s the facilitator for the Adolescent Health Coalition; Martin said coalition members are always interested in the perspective of the young people in the community. Its members also hope to better understand the world from the view of a high school student, and then translate that understanding into activities that will assist the high schoolers in leading healthier lives.

Martin hopes to gain a better understanding of what makes young people feel hopeful or discouraged in their world.

“We hope to share the photos with elected officials, civic groups and other audiences to share the world vision of one group of young people in our community,” Martin said. “Hopefully this will provide for us a better understanding for those of us far behind high school age.”

Martin is hopeful the PhotoVoice partnership with S-C will continue far into the future.

Cameron Newbill is a junior at Smith-Cotton High School.

Sedalia Democrat

Cameron Newbill is a junior at Smith-Cotton High School.

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