Student photojournalism on display in downtown gallery

The display is held by the Journeys in Journalism, which includes the Lakewood High Center for Journalism and Multimedia.

Third-grader Kayla Bell looks at work by Lakewood photojournalists on display at the Studio@620 on Friday (1/7).

MAYA RISH, SNN Staff Writer

Framed photographs covered the walls at Studio@620 in downtown St. Petersburg as students, teachers, district officials and parents walked through the annual “Through Our Eyes, Midtown and Beyond” student showcase. The opening night was Friday (1/7), and included a student poetry reading, speeches and free appetizers. Work was featured from Melrose Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Lakewood High schools.

Lakewood junior Bella Croteau has been reading her poetry at the gallery since her freshman year. This year, she read two short pieces during opening night.

“(I was) incredibly nervous. It’s a lot of people, and especially because normally at poetry readings you don’t know the people, but this time I did. … (It) was an honor. Only a few were chosen, and I’m a reporter most of the time,” she said.

The gallery exhibit began in 2004, a few years after the Journeys in Journalism program started at Melrose Elementary School by journalist and teacher Cynda Mort. Since then, the best of student photojournalism work has been displayed annually. Last year’s exhibit was held virtually due to the coronavirus.

Speakers at the event included Pinellas County schools Superintendent Mike Grego and former State House Rep. Frank Peterman, who sponsors a Lakewood scholarship in his mother, Peggy Peterman’s, name. Peterman was a long-time Black journalist at the Tampa Bay Times.

Center for Journalism and Multimedia junior Destini Gonzalez had a photo of some football players on the field at sunset on display at the gallery. She has had had photos in the exhibit since she was in ninth grade.

“I hope to have photos my 12th year, too,” she said. “I feel pretty proud of them. You can really see the progress I’ve made.”

The exhibit will be on display until Jan. 25 at the Studio@620, 620 1st Ave S, St. Petersburg. Admission is free but bring a mask.