A second major feature in the club’s early year calendar of events was the Schools Photography Competition.
Organised by the Kilmaurs club, the competition saw four local primary schools put their recently-acquired photography skills into practice. Participating in the event were Kilmaurs Primary, Nether Robertland Primary, Dunlop Primary and Lainshaw Primary.
The huge level of enthusiasm and skill displayed has made it almost a certainty that this will become an annual event. For this year’s challenge, the pupils had to tell the story of their school in pictures. The number of images was restricted to eight with each image being allowed a maximum size of 12” x 8”.
The accolade eventually went to Dunlop Primary School who had to fight off strong competition from the other three schools for the grand title and trophy. The hugely excited winning pupils commented: “Our school is very old and from the outside it does not fully show how welcoming, warm and friendly we are. We wanted our photographs to represent our amazing school and show everyone how special Dunlop is to us. We also wanted to show the original and traditional features alongside how much the school has changed and developed over its 130 year history.”
They continued: “Our photographs show Dunlop just as it is; we are a loving and caring school, and the image featuring a row of colorful jackets shows how bright and cheery it is. Our hopscotch photo shows how well we play together and our eco wall photograph represents how passionate we are about caring for Dunlop and the wider world.”
The idea of uniting the local pimary school in this event is the brainchild of club member Joyce Robinson who is a former teacher at the Nether Robertland school in Stewarton.
Joyce, along with members Jim Richmond and Bill Stitt, visited participating schools to give tutorials on basic image capturing skills. Joyce was also involved in mounting all of the 32 images – in itself no small task – and all 32 were then hung in Dunlop Hall by Joyce and Bill with help from KPC members, Donnie, Alan and Robin.
At the finals evening, held on January 10th, the images were judged by another Kilmaurts PC member, Martin Clark. Said Martin: “What a great evening! The pupils were really into it all, which was great to see. And the quality was great. People would be forgiven for thinking they’d been taken by members of the camera club but no, these were the results of young people picking up a new skill.”
Everyone’s a winner
The competition, which was given the thumbs up by every single member of the committee, provides a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Said P6 class teacher Mrs Emma White: ‘Dunlop Primary School and the photography team would like to extend a huge thank you to two parents – Mrs Cooley and Mrs Friel – who both gave their time and shared their own photography expertise to help the children learn new skills and prepare them for their participation in this new schools competition. This has been a fantastic experience that has seen our children flourish and be very excited about this new aspect of learning.’
Club President Bill Stitt commented: “Anyone who has ever been on a committee will know that it rarely happens that you have a 10 person committee in full agreement on any subject. However, I am pleased to say that everybody on Kilmaurs PC committee was on board with this one. It has given us a marvellous way of engaging with our local community.” Added Bill: “The enthusiastic manner in which the schools approached the competition was reflected in the entry from each of them. These were of a very good standard and our judge Martin was most impressed.”
The final at Dunlop Community Hall was well supported by the Head Teachers, teachers, pupils and parents as well as the young photographers themselves. The pupils in particular were very positive about the event and were especially tickled to be able to see their photographs fully mounted and hung in a exhibition type environment.
Said Mrs Wilson – Head Teacher at Dunlop Primary: “We are delighted to have won the first ever Kilmaurs School Photography Competition! Our Primary 6 pupils have excelled themselves with their creativity and technology skills; we’re very proud of them. Our Parent Council had recently purchased new digital cameras for the school and this, along with help from their teacher and two of our parents, sparked an enthusiasm for seeing the world through a camera lens, capturing amazing images of life in and around Dunlop Primary School.”
All round, the competition was a great success and the fact that Kilmaurs PC has now purchased a trophy indicates that the club foresees a great future for the event. Commented Bill Stitt: “Ideally, I would like to see a different topic each year to keep the competition fresh. But the way the children have embraced the idea is what gives me great hope for the future. And I think that even those pupils who didn’t win the trophy have gone away with a sense of achievement and pride.”
And of course the last word has to go to the pupils who commented: “The competition has taught us how it is important to be more aware of what is around us and how beautiful it actually is. We’ve also learnt that it is important to listen to each other and share ideas.”
“But by far our favourite part of this experience has been us all working together and having fun.”
You can’t say fairer than that.