Congratulations to our three high school photographers.
What does community mean?
In a world where social media dominates many aspects of life, we decided to tap into a generation that expresses community through their social media accounts. We asked our local high schoolers to submit photos of their community via Instagram to @observermedia using the hashtag #omgmycommunity.
After narrowing down the entries to five, based on photo quality and relevance to the theme, Observer staff voted for a first- and second-place winner and asked our followers on Instagram to pick their favorite photo, as well.
The winners were asked to submit a short essay defining what community is to them and explaining why they chose the photo to submit to the contest. The winners will be receiving Mall at UTC gift cards.
People's Choice Winner (selected by "likes" on Instagram):
Braden River High School
"We are so fortunate to live in such a thriving community between all of our events, businesses, activities, festivals, parks, beaches, and more. To me, community is coming together to learn and grow with each other; something I think our area does incredibly. We have several opportunities and common values which makes living here such a blessing. As a teenager especially, I have appreciated being raised in a place where a person's age or background doesn't matter. Everyone is always so inclusive and supportive, which is one of the reasons why I chose this picture to represent community. This photo from Ringling was taken on a night where I remember feeling exhausted from school and I decided last minute to run out to watch the sunset. Despite being stressed, I literally just laid in the grass with some music playing and watched this incredible view unfold. I began talking to some out of town visitors and local college students and it was just such a great reminder of how welcoming our town is. It was truly a sense of community where regardless of our personal situations, we can all relate and come together to enjoy all our city has to offer."
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School
"Community to me means that you feel welcomed and comfortable where you are. Community also means that you have a sense of close family and friends around you, that you can always go to for advice. I chose this picture because I just moved to Florida in November from Ohio and this picture was taken at the first community activity that I attended since the move. I knew that a neighborhood Easter egg hunt would be the perfect opportunity to take pictures. The kids who attended the egg hunt were so excited that you could feel the excitement in the air around you. At the beginning of the egg hunt, the local fire department came to surprise the kids. This was a great first neighborhood event that my family and I attended."
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School
"The reason I chose the Ringling Bridge as a photo representing my community because we have so much beauty in Sarasota. For me I find the beaches and turquoise waters of Sarasota amazing to look at especially during the summer; my family and I usually go to Lido Beach with our pet dog and let him run around while I will go and observe the turquoise water and the bridge. However not only do we live in a community that has great scenery of the sea life but we also have a lot of desire for art. We have an artsy community such as the Ringling Museum, the art festival, film festival, and also an highly well known Art College where many art students are working with one of the biggest business companies. I can say Sarasota is a colorful and incredible town filled with people that are unique in their own way; that's why I love the community for being so flamboyant and filled with so many amazing flaws and character."